Examining the Mechanism of Interaction Between Solanum tuberosum Plant Specific Insert with Lipid Membranes Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

The proposed research area of my master’s project is on the structure and function relationships of food-related proteins, at a fundamental and molecular level. My focus is on the plant specific insert (PSI), a saposin-like-protein in Solanum tuberosum, which has the potential to impact on both food safety and agricultural practices. Plants rely on their innate immunity as a first line of host defense against external pathogens. Like saposins and various other members in the saposin like protein family, PSI was discovered to have antimicrobial, antifungal, protein folding, vacuolar targeting/sorting, membrane disruption and vesicle leakage activities. These self-defense mechanisms are essential for the natural health of the plant. The proposed study will elucidate the interaction between the recombinantly expressed 15N and 13C labeled Solanum tuberosum plant specific insert with phospholipids through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Due to sequence homology of PSI and saposin C, a mature saposin; it is hypothesized that PSI will interact with phospholipid membranes in a similar fashion to saposin C and that the additional segment in PSI may play a role for interaction. 

Faculty Supervisor:

Rickey Yada


Jingxin Tian



Food science



University of British Columbia


Globalink Research Award

Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects