Molecular chaperones are proteins that interact with other proteins to ensure their proper folding and cellular localization. The nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC) is a protein complex composed of an alpha and beta subunit that is thought to play a role as a protein chaperone, acting on newly emerging proteins at the ribosome. Research using genetic model organisms, including Saccharomyces cerevisiase (baker’s yeast), has also indicated a potential role for the NAC in stress response. Baker’s yeast is an excellent model organism; it is a unicellular eukaryote that is especially suitable for basic biological research. The yeast genome has been sequenced and many powerful tools have been developed for manipulation of this organism in the laboratory. It is relatively simple to delete a specific gene in baker’s yeast and also a collection exists that contains the deletion of nearly every yeast gene. We are conducting experiments with yeast strains that have a deletion of the yeast gene encoding ß-NAC, to determine whether the yeast NAC mutant has an altered response to stress. We are testing for potential growth defects of the mutant strain in response to heat stress and oxidative stress, and also whether the mutant strain has an altered lifespan. Many metabolic and cellular pathways are highly conserved and therefore we can learn about basic cellular functions using the yeast model that may be informative for understanding human cells. It is known that proper protein folding and response to stress are important for maintaining a healthy cell, and that defects in these processes have been linked to some human degenerative diseases.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Toma Matveeva, Nathan Ashley

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kimberly Sleka

Type: Oral

Year: 2017

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