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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2011

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 6(2)


Peer Editor: Rachel Tellerman; Faculty Mentor: Usula Goodenough

A system that protects mating type plus (mt+) chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) and destroys mating type minus (mt-) cpDNA is proposed to explain the uniparental inheritance of cpDNA in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. While there currently is no definitive model that can account for this observation there are some known genes that have been postulated to be involved in the process. Early zygotic genes, EZY1, EZY2 and ZYS1 may be involved in the destruction portion of the uniparental inheritance system, since minus- specific destruction of cpDNA occurs in the early zygotes (1-2 hr after mating). Ectopic expression of the plus OTU2 gene in minus cells, which is located in the mating type locus, abolishes the minus chloroplast degradation, hence OTU2 may be involved with the protection of plus-derived genomes in the chloroplast. To investigate the possible interactions, Yeast Two Hybrid Assay was done using the AH109 strain. The results of the assay showed that there was no strong interaction between any of the domain constructs we analyzed. However, some significant observations seen during this experiment were that Ezy1 and Ezy2 might contain DNA-binding domains. Further testing on DNA-binding activity of these two proteins may shed light on such observations.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 6, Issue 2, Spring 2011. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research, Joy Zalis Kiefer Director of Undergraduate Research and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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