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Regina Stevens-Truss, Ph.D.




  I am a protein structure / function Biochemist. My interests lie in understanding how proteins interact with each other and with smaller molecules, and how their interactions affect function.

Main Project:  Understanding Nitric Oxide Synthase

  • The lab's main research focus is understanding the interaction between the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and calmodulin (CaM). Nitric oxide synthase catalyzes the formation of nitric oxide from L-arginine.  Nitric oxide is involved many normal physiological functions, and has also been found to play a role in several pathological conditions, such as Alzheimer's Disease.  Calmodulin acts as the trigger that allows efficient electron tranfer needed for catalysis.  The lab has been primarily investigating the effects that mutating the calcium binding sites of calmodulin has on the activation of neuronal and inducible NOS. Understanding these interactions could ultimately lead to the design of molecules that could be useful in the treatment of several conditions including Alzheimer's Disease, AIDS, Hypotension, and certain cancers.  In addition  to the potential that this research has for the design of NOS isoform specific inhibitors, it may shed light on calmodulin's varied role in the cell.  A study outlining the role of the calcium binding sites on the activity of neuronal NOS was publish in collaboration with Dr. Michael Marletta and Dr. Kate Beckingham (Stevens-Truss , et al., 1997).  My lab has just recently completed the studies of the effects that the calcium site mutations have on the activity of the inducible NOS (Manuscript to be submitted to Biochemistry, Sep. 2004).
The focus of the lab will now be on deciphering the exact amino acid residues of NOS and CaM that are involved in their interaction.

Other Projects:  The lab has also been involved in several other projects.

  • We have been investigating, in collaboration with Dr. D. Blaine Moore (Kalamazoo Colleg, Biology), the molecular basis of Alzheimer's Disease, and the role of nitric oxide in its progression.



  • In collaboration with the lab of Dr. Laura Furge (Kalamazoo College, Chemistry), the lab has been involved in studying the effects that P450 inhibitors (OPZ, D3T, and Sulforaphane) have on the activity of inducible and neuronal NOS (Oltipraz Inhibits Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase in vitro and Inhibits Nitric Oxide Production in Activated Microglial Cells. Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics, 2004, 424: 163-170).