Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Morgan Sammons



Committee Member

ChangHwan Lee


Non-coding regulatory elements in the eukaryotic genomic DNA, like enhancers and promoters, control gene expression. Transcription factors recognize and bind to DNA sequences within these regulatory regions and affect said regulatory elements. The extent and specific circumstances regarding transcription factors are long-standing questions in the field. In this thesis, we wanted to investigate how transcription factors work in a particular case of enhancers, known as intragenic enhancers. We designed reporter gene assays that looked at the well-studied model transcription factor p53’s regulation on its target gene GADD45A in basal and stress conditions. We determined that GADD45A is a p53-dependent gene, requiring the factor for maximum transcriptional output. Furthermore, we found that p53 requires additional transcription factors to attain the result, suggesting that intragenic enhancers behave similarly to traditional upstream enhancers. These novel observations highlight the diversity of regulatory elements within the genome and showcase the combinatory nature of transcription factors. Further work regarding the dynamics and function of transcription factors within intragenic enhancers will lead to a better understanding of gene regulatory biology.

Included in

Biology Commons