Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

Major

Biology

Advisor/Committee Chair

Prashanth Rangan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Katarina Tlučková, Ph.D.

Abstract

According to the central dogma of biology, DNA is transcribed into mRNA. This mRNA is then translated into a protein. Translation of mRNA into protein is extremely precise, and as such is controlled by many different factors, both spatially and temporally. This phenomenon is known as translation control. Many times, this regulation is influenced by secondary structures, often in the form of stem loops on the mRNA. These secondary structures found on mRNA, specifically in the 3’Untranslated Region (3’UTR) of mRNA, can influence cellular gene expression. These genes can be upregulated or down regulated, depending on stem loop function. When trans-acting regulatory factors, such as RNA binding proteins (RBPs) bind to the 3’UTR mRNA, repression or activation of the gene can be initiated; translation can also be controlled by cis-acting factors. Our research focused on determining whether the 3’UTR secondary structures played a role in translation control. To study the function of these secondary structures, we deleted stem loops on 3’UTR mRNA in a specific gene, known as polar granule component (pgc), using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. The phenotypes of several deleted stem loop mutants were observed via antibody staining. Using western blot and qRT-PCR experiments, the level of expression of the pgc protein and pgc mRNA was quantified, to determine if this deletion had an effect in translation control in both embryogenesis and oogenesis, two developmental cycles in D. melanogaster.

Included in

Biology Commons

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