Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Animesh Ray

Reader 2

Pete Chandrangsu


This study examines the mechanisms of interaction of two main components of the Soil organic matter (SOM) and various fungal Hsp60-like proteins at the atomic and molecular detail. Due to an increase of carbon emissions since the 1850s, the climate crisis has become a part of ecological discussions, and reducing our carbon footprint has become a priority. One possible answer to this comes from analyzing plants, which are natural consumers of carbon. Fungi and SOM are key factors that contribute to plant productivity and functionality. SOM are molecular components of soil that often affect soil fertility, the carbon cycle, and fungi growth. Meanwhile, Hsp60 serves as a homolog of glomalin, a soil aggregate. So this computational study serves as greater insight into the relationship between Arbuscular mycorrhizas fungi and SOM. This mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi is dependent on the protein interactions between the soil and fungi, especially Arbuscular mycorrhizas which penetrate the plant roots in order to transfer water and nutrients. Humic and fulvic acid can influence the availability of nutrients in the soil and control the storage of carbon over a long duration, while Hsp60 has the potential to produce soil aggregates. Therefore, understanding these factors computationally can help discover more about glomalin. Initially, multiple sequence alignments were conducted to isolate interesting Hsp60 proteins, then a virtual software called AutodockVina was utilized to find protein interactions between SOM and Hsp60. All in all, we discovered that the docking regions for each of these proteins were similar in location but differed in the types of amino acid interactions.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.