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Jonathan Moulton - April 26

The Expression and Functional Studies of a Recombinant Surfactant Protein B (SP-B)


Of the components of the respiratory system, one of the most crucial is the
pulmonary surfactant. This mixture of lipids, cholesterol, and proteins act to reduce
surface tension inside the lungs as well as fight infection. The surfactant associated
proteins vary in their structure and function but arguably the most important is surfactant
protein B (SP-B) which is essential to life. Despite it’s importance, it has not yet been
structurally characterized and as a result, much of its function still remains a mystery.
Part of the problem is the difficulty in acquiring enough of the protein to work with. To
attempt to solve this problem, I have developed a method to recombinantly express SPB
in E. Coli in relative abundance. I also ran a series of functional tests on the
recombinant SP-B to determine if it is a viable alternative to native SP-B for use in the
laboratory and possible clinical applications.

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