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The Effects of Cellular Age on Polyglutamine Repeat Protein Aggregation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 12/01/2012
End Date 07/01/2013
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 01/29/2013 04:13PM
Keywords polyQ, cellular age


  Ben Harrison

Student Researchers
  Lindsay Noah-Vermillion


Research on Huntington’s disease and similar neurological diseases has shown that the hallmark of these disorders is the presence of DNA that encodes proteins with long repetitive strands of the amino acid glutamine (polyglutamine; polyQ). These repetitive polyQ proteins arc expressed in neurons, and form aggregates (clumps) in cells, which are believed to be harmful to neurological function and survival of the neurons (Warrick et al.. 1998: Faber et al.. 1999). Polygultamine proteins have been studied in many model organisms including worms. yeast. bacteria. flies and mammals: and in all cases. polyQ proteins show more tendency to aggregate as the length of the polyQ region increases. Oa id "';ash. an undergraduate researcher at l 'AA. has shown that transgenic polyQ proteins expressed in the model plant. Arabidopsis thaliana. also aggregate depending on their length. Interestingly. the length of the polyQ tract encoded in human DNA is inversely correlated with the age-of-onset of the diseases; where people expressing longer polyQ proteins manifest disease S] mptoms earlier in life (Snell et al.. 1993 ). Studies in the worm Caenorhahditis eleKans show that polyQ protein aggregation increases with age. suggesting that the age-of-onset in humans is related to the age of aggregate formation (Morley et al. 2002).

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