Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology Department
First Thesis Advisor
Frontotemporal Dementia, RNA-Binding Proteins, Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
Theses, UMMS; Frontotemporal Dementia; RNA-Binding Proteins; Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second most common early-onset dementia. A rare mutation in CHMP2B gene was found to be associated with FTD linked to chromosome 3. Previous studies have shown that mutant CHMP2B could lead to impaired autophagy pathway and altered RNA metabolism. However, it is still unknown what genes mediate the crosstalk between different pathways affected by mutant CHMP2B. Genetic screens designed to identify genes interacting with mutant CHMP2B represents a key approach in solving the puzzle. Expression of mutant CHMP2B (CHMP2Bintron5) in Drosophila eyes leads to a neurodegenerative phenotype including melanin deposition and disrupted internal structure of ommatidia. The phenotype is easily quantified by estimating the percentage of black dots on the surface of the eyes. Using this established Drosophila model, I searched for genes encoding RNA binding proteins that genetically modify CHMP2Bintron5 toxicity. I found that partial loss of Pumilio, a translation repressor, mitigates CHMP2Bintron5 induced toxicity in the fly eyes. Western blot analysis showed that down regulation of Pumilio does not significantly decrease CHMP2Bintron5 protein level, indicating indirect regulation involved in suppression of the phenotype. The molecular targets regulated by Pumilio and the mechanism underlying CHMP2Bintron5 toxicity suppression by Pumilio down-regulation requires further investigation.
Du, X. Investigation of RNA Binding Protein Pumilio as a Genetic Modifier of Mutant CHMP2B in Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD): A Masters Thesis. (2016). University of Massachusetts Medical School. GSBS Dissertations and Theses. Paper 846. DOI: 10.13028/M27C7R. http://escholarship.umassmed.edu/gsbs_diss/846
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Available for download on Thursday, August 24, 2017