John A Karas

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The predatory ecology of Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) has been a subject of long-standing interest and considerable conjecture. Here, we investigate the roles and potential interplay between cranial mechanics, toxic bacteria, and venom. Our analyses point to the presence of a sophisticated combined-arsenal killing apparatus. We find that the(More)
Studies were carried out in experimental marine ecosystems to determine the fate and persistence of a series of volatile organic compounds in coastal seawater. A suite of aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated C2-hydrocarbons, and chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons, covering a wide range of water solubilities, volatilities, and(More)
Venom has only been recently discovered to be a basal trait of the Anguimorpha lizards. Consequently, very little is known about the timings of toxin recruitment events, venom protein molecular evolution, or even the relative physical diversifications of the venom system itself. A multidisciplinary approach was used to examine the evolution across the full(More)
The origin and evolution of venom proteins in helodermatid lizards were investigated by multidisciplinary techniques. Our analyses elucidated novel toxin types resultant from three unique domain-expression processes: 1) The first full-length sequences of lethal toxin isoforms (helofensins) revealed this toxin type to be constructed by an ancestral(More)
Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum has been implicated in the invasion of host erythrocytes and is an important vaccine candidate. We have previously described a 20-residue peptide, R1, that binds to AMA1 and subsequently blocks parasite invasion. Because this peptide appears to target a site critical for AMA1(More)
The oxidative folding of large polypeptides has been investigated in detail; however, comparatively little is known about the enzyme-assisted folding of small, disulfide-containing peptide substrates. To investigate the concerted effect of multiple enzymes on the folding of small disulfide-rich peptides, we sequenced and expressed protein-disulfide(More)
New bifunctional derivatives of diacetyl-bis(4-methylthiosemicarbazone) (H(2)atsm) have been prepared by a selective transamination reaction of a new dissymmetric bis(thiosemicarbazone) precursor H(2)L(1). The new derivatives contain an aliphatic carboxylic acid (H(2)L(2) and H(2)L(3)), t-butyl carbamate (H(2)L(4)), or ammonium ion (H(2)L(5)) functional(More)
Human apolipoprotein C-I (apoC-I) is an exchangeable apolipoprotein that binds to lipoprotein particles in vivo. In this study, we employed a LC-MS/MS assay to demonstrate that residues 38-51 of apoC-I are significantly protected from proteolysis in the presence of 1,2-dimyristoyl-3-sn-glycero-phosphocholine (DMPC). This suggests that the key lipid-binding(More)
Predatory marine cone snails (genus Conus) utilize complex venoms mainly composed of small peptide toxins that target voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels in their prey. Although the venoms of a number of cone snail species have been intensively profiled and functionally characterized, nothing is known about the initiation of venom expression at an early(More)