Jasmine Cisneros

Characterization of A. thaliana Transcription Activators

The field of metabolic engineering has expanded to utilize plants as an expression host in the biotechnology industry and current research. Transcription factors (TFs) are one of the many intriguing components in the plants metabolic pathways as they regulate the expression of the enzymes involved. While TFs are integral for control of gene expression, most TFs in plant systems are not characterized regarding their upregulation (activation) or downregulation (repression) of gene expression. In unpublished work my group has screened a library of 400 transcription factors from A. thaliana with a fraction displaying trans-activating patterns stronger than VP16, a commonly used strong trans-activation domain (TAD) from the herpes simplex virus. My goal for this project is to characterize the top 20 TFs of the previous work in their ability to activate gene expression according to their TAD. 1 I plan to apply these candidate TFs into published biological systems and hosts through parallel gene expression and to demonstrate that these TFs will work across eukaryotic families, in inducible systems, as well as in a compound production setup. This work has the potential to contribute to the optimization of plant synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.

Message to Sponsor

I want to thank the Rose Hills Foundation and the SURF program for giving me this opportunity. I'm glad they saw the potential in me to hopefully discover great scientific research in this changing world!
  • Major: Chemistry Major, Bioengineering Minor
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Henrik V. Scheller