Lusha Liang

Why Are Gene Regulators and Their Targets Co-localized in the Bacterial Genome?

In bacterial genomes, functionally related genes tend to be grouped together in operons, possibly to facilitate co-regulation and coordinated horizontal gene transfer. However, co-regulation and the formation of selfish gene clusters cannot explain the co-localization of regulators and their target operons. Yet this co-localization of prokaryotic transcription factor genes and their binding sites is widespread and is a driving force in the specific organization of transcriptional units on the chromosome. Thus in this study I will use the paradigmatic model of gene regulation, the lac locus, to address a fundamental question: why are gene regulators and their targets co-localized in bacterial genomes?

Message to Sponsor

I am incredibly grateful to SURF for providing me with the opportunity to continue doing research this summer. While I have always enjoyed my classes, doing research has truly enriched my learning experience here at Cal. In class we learn about past discoveries and experiments, but by doing research we can probe deeper into pre-existing concepts and theories and find completely new questions to ask and hopefully, one day, answer. With an open mind and determination, we can discover things about nature that no one else in the world knows, and then disseminate that information so that others may use that knowledge in ways that may have never even occurred to us.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Economics
  • Mentor: Han Lim, Integrative Biology