PhD-students currently working in this area:
Sulphur has a very varied biochemistry. It is not only present in proteins (in form of amino acids), but also wide-spread in nature in small molecules, like alliin (mainly responsible for the smell) in garlic. It interacts readily with other elements, like arsenic and mercury. In the process sulphur often forms stable compounds whose biological behaviour is quite different from that of their none-thiolated relatives.
Identification and quantification of sulphur compounds can be difficult due to the sheer number of sulphur compounds normally present in biological samples.
There are two major research projects actively pursued at the moment. One project is researching small sulphur containing molecules in alliums (garlic, onion….) and deducing their metabolic pathways.
The other project is about absolute quantification of proteins via their sulphur content after tryptic digest and separation of the peptides.
Included in this project is the quantification of phosphorylated peptides after enrichment to determine the phosphorylation status of proteins.
Protein phosphorylation is one of the post-translational modifications of proteins, which influences their metabolic fate and activity. Effective peptide enrichment for the determination of phosphorylation is essential, since at any given time only a small part of the proteome is phosphorylated.
The project homepage can be found at: http://www.ptb.de/emrp/remind.html