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Rapid detection of thrombin and other protease activity directly in whole blood

  • Author(s): Yu, Johnson Chung Sing
  • et al.
Abstract

Thrombin is a serine protease that plays a key role in the clotting cascade to promote hemostasis following injury to the endothelium. From a clinical diagnostic perspective, in-vivo thrombin activity is linked to various blood clotting disorders, as well as cardiovascular disease (DVT, arteriosclerosis, etc). Thus, the ability to rapidly measure protease activity directly in whole blood will provide important new diagnostics, and clinical researchers with a powerful tool to further elucidate the relationship between circulating protease levels and disease. The ultimate goal is to design novel point of care (POC) diagnostic devices that are capable of monitoring protease activities directly in whole blood and biological sample. A charge-changing substrate specific to the thrombin enzyme was engineered and its functionality was confirmed by a series of experiments. This led to the preliminary design, construction, and testing of two device platforms deemed fully functional for the electrophoretic separation and focusing of charged peptide fragments. The concept of using the existing charge- changing substrate platform for bacterial protease detection was also investigated. Certain strains of E coli are associated with severe symptoms such as abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. The OmpT protease is expressed on the outer membrane of E coli and plays a role in the cleavage of antimicrobial peptides, the degradation of recombinant heterologous proteins, and the activation of plasminogen in the host. Thus, a synthetic peptide substrate specific to the OmpT protease was designed and modeled for the purpose of detecting E coli in biological sample

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