Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Li-June Ming, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Brian T. Livingston, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven H. Grossman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy L. Larsen, Ph.D.


Kinetics, Reactive oxygen species, Metallopeptide, Amyloid, Enzymology, Sea urchin, Metalloprotease


Although transition metals are essential for life, misregulation of redox-active metal uptake, delivery, storage, and excretion has been linked with a series of neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is considered an epidemic and is the most widespread of all forms of dementia. Copper ions found in large concentrations localized in amyloid-ß plaques in the brain of AD patients have been linked with the generation of reactive oxygen species which are suspected to be the culprits leading to neuronal cell death. Herein a series of mechanistic and spectroscopic studies elucidate the chemistry about the metal-centered oxidation of biomolecules, including catecholamine neurotransmitters and some analogues by copper-complexes of amyloid-ß peptide.

Transition metals can also be useful tools for characterization of metalloproteins due to their unique chemical and spectroscopic features. Herein a series of studies of the native Zn²+ and Cu²+-derivative of recombinant Blastula Protease 10 (BP10) from the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus are presented in order to elucidate its catalytic mechanism, with the use of enzymology, metal substitution, and electronic absorption spectroscopy.