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Emenike, Benjamin

Benjamin Emenike

Emory University

Talk Title

Chemical Tools for Profiling Lysine Dimethylation and N-Terminal Dimethylation of Proteins

Presentation Time

Dr. Elizabeth Schram YI Oral Competition
Sunday, June 25, 2023, at 03:45 pm - 04:00 pm

One of the ways through which nature increases the functional diversity of the proteome is through a process known as posttranslational modifications, PTMs. Dimethylation of lysine, Kme2, and N-termini, NMe2, of proteins is a posttranslational modification which involves the catalytic attachment of two methyl groups onto lysine side chain or the N-termini amines.

abstract image

Despite the surging interest towards this modification and its emergence as a key component of diverse set of biological events, its global identification has remained an unachieved goal. This is due to the lack of pan specific chemical tools for tagging of Kme2 and NMe2.

Our approach towards the global profiling of Kme2 and NMe2 involves the use of two independent tertiary amine trapping reactions: tertiary amine coupling via oxidation, TACO, and tertiary amine nucleophilic substitution, TANS.

Preliminary data highlights the efficiency of both techniques in tagging KMe2 and NMe2 in a pan-specific manner, with the added advantage of faster reaction kinetics and near-quantitative conversions. Our long-term goal is to utilize these technologies for the global profiling of KMe2 and NMe2 sites, and identification of disease related KMe2 and NMe2 biomarkers in the human proteome. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first attempt towards labeling of KMe2 and NMe2 using a chemical strategy, thus the innovation of this work.

Benjamin was born and raised in Nigeria. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, and is currently a 4th-year chemistry graduate student at Emory University. Ben is a lover of sports, especially football, soccer!, and has been a die-hard fan of Liverpool football club since 2004. His belief in the club's motto: "You'll never walk alone" represents a fundamental aspect of his life, hence his incessant desire in getting to know and working with people. He has plans of becoming a Professor in the future!
Benjamin also loves graphics design, 3D art, and computer programming with his favorite languages being Java, C#, python, and R.

Benjamin's research and career interests lie at the nexus of Chemical biology/Bioorganic chemistry. In the lab, he is working on developing tools using organic chemistry to discover new biomarkers for various diseases. A significant part of his contributions has been in the development of chemical tools for sequencing amino acid residues and profiling the different methylation states of lysine, such as monomethyl, dimethyl, and trimethyl-lysine.

Benjamin Emenike
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