Faculty Mentor: Sudhir Nayak
Students: Jen Aleman
My project focused on discovering the mechanisms of gld-1 regulation. In C. elegans, GLD-1 (defective in Germ Line Development) is an RNA-binding protein and acts as a translational repressor. The GLD-1 protein binds to mRNAs in order to block translation and prevent inappropriate expression of their gene products. Genetic analysis has indicated that gld-1 acts as a tumor-suppressor in the germ line, which means it prevents cancer by regulation of the cell cycle. Mis-expression of GLD-1 can lead to incorrect progression through the cell cycle and germ line tumors. The expression of GLD-1 is tightly controlled in the germ line of hermaphrodites and regulates multiple processes such as oocyte development and cell proliferation. We are interested in discovering genes responsible for maintaining the correct expression pattern of GLD-1. To identify these genes, we were able to characterize mutations of gld-1 by DAPI staining and using fluorescent microscopy to compare mutants to the wild type control. In order to see the difference in GLD-1 expression between the control and mutant, we took advantage of a transgenic strain which contained GLD-1 fused to GFP (green fluorescent protein). We were able to narrow down our total pool of mutant strains to two interesting mutant strains through the characterization of these mutations. Future directions include germ line dissection followed by DAPI staining and imaging to further characterize the two mutant strains. By imaging these mutations, we hope to identify novel genes that maintain GLD-1 protein at appropriate levels.