Wipa Suginta

Topic Expertise:

  • Bioconversion of chitin biomass by marine Vibrios
  • Structural and biophysical studies of protein nanopores
  • Development of chitin-chitosan based biosensors/immunosensors


School of Biomolecular Science & Engineering (BSE), 

Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Wangchan Valley, Rayong, THAILAND

Tel: (+66)33 014 020 | Email: wipa.s@vistec.ac.th


Professor Dr. Wipa Suginta received her B.Sc. degree in Genetics from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, in 1990 and M.Sc.degree in Biochemistry from Mahidol University, Bangkok, in 1993.

After her Master’s thesis (1995), which involved isolation and characterization of carbohydrate-degrading enzymes and was carried out under the supervision of Professor Dr. M. R. Jisnuson Svasti, she was granted a Royal Thai Government scholarship for doctoral studies in the Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, under the supervision of Dr. Linda Gilmore. Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled “Structural and functional characterization of Vibrio harveyi chitinase”.

After obtaining her Ph.D. degree in 1999, she joined Dr. Richard Ashley’s laboratory in the Membrane Biology Group at Edinburgh University. Her postdoctoral research was funded by the Welcome Trust and involved functional characterization of rat brain chloride intracellular ion channels (CLICs).

In January 2001, she returned to her Lectureship in the School of Biochemistry, Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand. Particular themes of Dr. Suginta past and present research are:

1) structural and functional characterization of proteins/enzymes involved in chitin degradation by marine Vibrios;

2) structural and biophysical studies of protein nanopores; 

3) development of chitinchitosan-based biosensors/immunosensors.

Apart from promotions to Assistant (2004), Associate (2007), and then full (2015) Professor, she received for her scientific achievements the L’OREAL (Thailand)/UNESCO “For Women in Science” Fellowship (2005), the Outstanding Research Award from Suranaree University of Technology (2010), a prestigious Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, Germany (2009−2012),TRF-CHE-Scopus Researcher Award for Life Sciences and Agricultural Sciences (2013), and Professor M.R. Jisnuson Svasti BMB Award (2014).

Research Interests:

1. Bioconversion of chitin biomass by marine Vibrios

Chitin is the most abundant biopolymer in marine ecosystems. However, there is no accumulation of chitin in the ocean-floor sediments, since certain species of marine Vibrios are mainly responsible for the rapid turnover of chitin biomass. Marine Vibrios are known to express active chitinolytic enzymes and chitin binding proteins, which help them to control global carbon and nitrogen recycling in the marine biosphere. We have spent our past decades trying to understand the molecular mechanisms of chitin degradation by chitinolytic enzymes and chitin binding proteins from Vibrio species. These enzymes/proteins are chitinases, exo-?-N-acetylglucosaminidase, chitin binding proteins, chitin sensor, and polysaccharide monooxygenase. The ultimate aim for our research is to gain complete understanding of the chitin degradation pathway of these bacteria. For renewable energy point of view, marine Vibrios could serve as an excellent candidate for bioconversion of multimillion tons of chitin biomass into a vast quantity of green and clean bioenergy.

2. Structural and biophysical studies of protein nanopores

Protein nanopores play a crucial role in the adaptation of bacteria to live under extreme conditions. For example, Vibrio species expresschitin-uptake channels to allow them to grow in glucose-depleted, but chitin-enriched aquatic environment. We recently identified two novel chitin-uptake channels: VhChiP from V. harveyi and VcChiP from V. cholera. VhChiP is an exceptionally potent sugar-specific channel, responsible for the primary uptake of chitoligosaccharides into the cells. On the other hand, chitin-VcChiP interactions help to increase pandemic and epidemic of V. cholera infection. In addition, membrane permeability regulated by protein channels are known to be involved in the multidrug-resistant mechanism of several highly infectious pathogens, known as ‘superbugs’, such as Burkholderia pseudomallei, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus pneumonia. In this area of research, we combine several cutting-edge approaches to investigate the molecular basis of membrane permeability through protein nanopores from various microorganisms. Several cutting-edge techniques are employed, including single channel recordings using time-resolved black lipid membrane reconstitution, membrane protein crystallization, protein-ligand interactions using isothermal microcalorimetry, thermal folding/unfolding experiments using CD and fluorescence spectroscopy.

3. Development of chitin-chitosan based biosensors/immunosensors

Chitin biomaterials exhibit extremely biocompatible properties, which make them particularly useful for biomedical applications, such as wound healing, cartilage tissue engineering, drug delivery and nerve generation. Recently, we reviewed the prominent application of chitin, chitosan and their derivatives in the dynamic field of the electrochemical sensor design as immobilization matrix for biological recognition elements. Regarding biomedical applications, the advantage is taken from the biocompatibility of chitin-based electrode coatings that firmly entrap the biological macromolecules, on the other hand, provide a protective environment for them. In collaboration with an expert in the biosensor field, Dr. Albert Schulte, we have been working on chitin-based sensor development. We discover that chitin/chitosan biomaterials can act as efficient thin film surface modifiers of all sorts of electrodes, and they have been successfully applied to the realization of enzyme-, antibody/antigen and DNA-based biosensors with superb analytical performance. In our laboratory, we have specifically focused on the improvement of chitin/chitosan-based immunosensing as a diagnostic tool for sensitive detection of a cancer marker chitinase 3-like protein 1 (CHI3-L1 or hYKL-40) and an osteoarthritis marker chitinase3-like protein 2 CHI-L2 or hYKL-39).


Journal, Review

Green-Chemical Strategies for Production of Tailor-Made Chitooligosaccharides with Enhanced Biological Activities

Thomas R.

Molecules ,2023, 2818 6591

Journal, Article

Structural displacement model of chitooligosaccharide transport through chitoporin

Sanram S.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2023, 2998 105000

Journal, Article

A Copper Disk Electrode Biosensor Assay for Urinary 4-Hydroxyphenyl Acetate Testing

Teanphonkrang S.

IEEE Sensors Journal ,2023, 2315 

Journal, Article

Intermittent pulse amperometry as an effective electrochemical assay of 4-nitrophenol

Prempinij W.

Applied Physics Letters ,2023, 1233 033701

Journal, Article

Structural and binding studies of a new chitin-active AA10 lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase from the marine bacterium Vibrio campbellii

Zhou Y.

Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology ,2023, 79 

Journal, Article

Structure-based virtual screening for potent inhibitors of GH-20 β-N-acetylglucosaminidase: Classical and machine learning scoring functions, and molecular dynamics simulations

Phengsakun G.

Computational Biology and Chemistry ,2023, 104 107856

Journal, Review

AlphaFold2: A versatile tool to predict the appearance of functional adaptations in evolution: Profilin interactions in uncultured Asgard archaea

Ponlachantra K.

BioEssays ,2023, 452 2200119

Journal, Review

Marine chitin upcycling with immobilized chitinolytic enzymes: current state and prospects

Charoenpol A.

Green Chemistry ,2022, 252 

Journal, Article

Dual role of azo compounds in inhibiting Plasmodium falciparum adenosine deaminase and hemozoin biocrystallization

Kuaprasert B.

Experimental Parasitology ,2022, 243 108384

Journal, Article

Bioeconomic production of high-quality chitobiose from chitin food wastes using an in-house chitinase from Vibrio campbellii

Thomas R.

Bioresources and Bioprocessing ,2022, 91 86

Journal, Article

Single-channel characterization of the chitooligosaccharide transporter chitoporin (SmChiP) from the opportunistic pathogen Serratia marcescens

Soysa H.S.M.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2022, 29810 102487

Journal, Article

Discovery and Genetic Code Expansion of a Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Hydrolase from the Human Saliva Metagenome for the Degradation and Bio-Functionalization of PET

Eiamthong B.

Angewandte Chemie - International Edition ,2022, 6137 e202203061

Journal, Article

Mechanism of transcription regulation by Acinetobacter baumannii HpaR in the catabolism of p-hydroxyphenylacetate

Permsirivisarn P.

FEBS Journal ,2022, 28911 

Journal, Article

The C2 entity of chitosugars is crucial in molecular selectivity of the Vibrio campbellii chitoporin

Suginta W.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2021, 2976 101350

Journal, Article

Electrochemical N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase urinalysis: Toward sensor chip-based diagnostics of kidney malfunction

Vibulcharoenkitja P.

Biomolecules ,2021, 1110 1433

Journal, Article

A structural model for (GlcNAc)2 translocation via a periplasmic chitooligosaccharide-binding protein from marine Vibrio bacteria

Kitaoku Y.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2021, 2973 101071

Journal, Article

Probing the physiological roles of the extracellular loops of chitoporin from Vibrio campbellii

Aunkham A.

Biophysical Journal ,2021, 12011 

Journal, Article

Structural basis of chitin utilization by a GH20 b-N-Acetylglucosaminidase from Vibrio campbellii strain ATCC BAA-1116

Meekrathok P.

Acta Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology ,2021, 77 

Journal, Article

Effect of whey protein concentrate on probiotic viability and antioxidant properties of yogurt during storage and simulated gastrointestinal transit

Ranok A.

International Food Research Journal ,2021, 281 

Journal, Review

Mythical origins of the actin cytoskeleton

Akıl C.

Current Opinion in Cell Biology ,2021, 68 

Journal, Article

An electrochemical method for detecting the biomarker 4-HPA by allosteric activation of acinetobacter baumannii reductase C1 subunit

Teanphonkrang S.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2021, 296 100467

Journal, Article

Kinetic and thermodynamic insights into the inhibitory mechanism of TMG-chitotriomycin on Vibrio campbellii GH20 exo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase

Morimoto Y.

Carbohydrate Research ,2021, 499 108201

Journal, Article

Vibrio campbellii chitoporin: Thermostability study and implications for the development of therapeutic agents against Vibrio infections

Aunkham A.

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules ,2020, 164 

Journal, Article

Chitoporin from Serratia marcescens: Recombinant expression, purification and crystallization

Amornloetwattana R.

Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology Communications ,2020, 76 

Journal, Article

NAG-thiazoline is a potent inhibitor of the Vibrio campbellii GH20 β-N-Acetylglucosaminidase

Meekrathok P.

FEBS Journal ,2020, 28722 

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