Characterizing Expression of CtBP Isoforms

Summer 2016

Susan Wang : Molecular and Cell Biology

Mentor: Iswar Hariharan

Many factors come into play in the course of an organism’s growth and development, one of which is the transcriptional coregulator C-terminal Binding Protein (CtBP). CtBP has been characterized in a variety of developmental pathways, including the TGF-beta and WNT pathways, and has been shown to produce growth abnormalities when studied in drosophila melanogaster. I plan to study transcription of drosophila CtBP by using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Although drosophila CtBP is encoded by just one gene, there are actually several isoforms of the protein that can each produce very different phenotypes when expressed. Because the protein structures of the isoforms are very similar, FISH can help us better differentiate the expression patterns, as well as determine if there are differences between the various mRNA transcripts that produce the same protein isoform. We hope to eventually see either spatial or temporal differences that may explain the phenotypic results. Characterizing the expression patterns of the isoforms and their transcripts can give us a better understanding of CtBP’s role in controlling development.  

I am very thankful for the Pergo Foundation and the Office of Undergraduate Research for giving me the opportunity to conduct full time research this summer. This summer will allow me to focus on an independent project, an extremely valuable experience that will help me grow both as a student and a researcher. I am excited to be learning new molecular techniques and to gain knowledge that can help inform what I do in the future!