Differential response of wild-type and mutant small heat shock protein alpha-crystallin to chemical and thermal stresses
Cataracts, caused by the aggregation of proteins inside lens cells, are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Alpha-crystallins, members of the small heat shock protein family, are essential for eye lens transparency in humans and mice. Using mouse models with different mutations in aA-crystallin, I am investigating the mechanisms for establishing and maintaining lifelong lens transparency. This summer I will be challenging these cells with a compound called Withaferin A, a chemical that causes changes in cell architecture. By observing the response of intracellular proteins to this compound, I will be able to explore some of the causes of protein aggregation and malfunction inside lens cells. If successful, my research may provide clues for preventing or treating cataract formation.
Message to Sponsor
- Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
- Mentor: Xiaohua Gong, Vision Science/Optometry