Team:TPHS San Diego

Breakdown of Trimethylamine via Trimethylamine Dehydrogenase to Minimize Heart Disease Caused by Red Meat Consumption

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The consumption of red meat has been linked to atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Recently, it was discovered that the combination of choline and L-carnitine from red meat, are converted to trimethylamine (TMA) in the body. TMA is a precursor to trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which is found to exacerbate cholesterol buildup, ultimately leading to atherosclerosis. In this study, we targeted this pathway by breaking down the precursor, TMA, before TMAO is formed. A system designed to concurrently degrade TMA and subdue its toxic by-product, formaldehyde, was implemented in E. coli for these purposes. This system is composed of Trimethylamine Dehydrogenase (TMADH) and Formaldehyde Dehydrogenase (FDH) which are being tested independently for their degradation properties. Our approach has proven that TMADH is effective in TMA degradation and FDH can be expressed in a bacterial vector to minimize the presence of formaldehyde.