Neal, Sonya (Associate Member)

Sonya is a second year Associate member of the training grant. She is in the Molecular Biology IDP.   Her research mentor is Dr. Carla Koehler.  She received a B.S. degree in 2007 from UC San Diego.

Mentor: Dr. Carla Koehler

Research project:

My project investigates the role of redox chemistry in mitochondrial biogenesis.  Previous studies, including ours, have shown that the mitochondrial intermembrane space contains a novel oxidative folding pathway.  A redox-regulated import pathway consisting of Mia40 was identified to mediate the import of small Tim proteins and cysteine-rich proteins in the intermembrane space.  The sulfhydryl oxidase Erv1 also functions in this pathway as a putative oxidant for Mia40.  Thus, in my research I hope to reconstitute the disulfide exchange reaction with Mia40, Erv1 and potential substrates, including biochemical characterization of the redox properties of Mia40, Erv1 and substrates. A battery of tests including monobromobimane titration, intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence, and AMS thiol-trapping will be utilized to delineate the role that each cysteine residues play in the thiol/disulfide exchange mechanism.