Post-Grant Reports


Deciphering the Molecular Mechanisms of Gene Silencing through the Genetic Analysis of Drosophila melanogaster: Characterizing Newly-Discovered Genes

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Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Molecular Genetics


In an effort to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of gene silencing in Drosophila melanogaster, we previously identified a role for the CCR4/NOT complex subunit unit Regena/NOT2 in microRNA-mediated gene silencing. During the previous academic year a fluorescent sensor of microRNA-mediated gene silencing was used to gather preliminary data on the effect of a mutation in Regena/NOT2 on silencing during early stages of Drosophila development. In the summer of 2014, novel additional data were collected to confirm that gene silencing was disrupted in Regena/NOT2 mutants as visualized by changes in fluorescence in tissues not previously analyzed and at timepoints not previously analyzed, clarifying previous results. The summer months facilitated the research schedule necessary for this new data collection. In addition, sequence analysis of the NOT2 gene continued, and collected data further suggested that the observed mutant phenotypes are indeed the result of a single mutation in the coding region of NOT2. Beyond analysis of the role of NOT2 in gene silencing, successful recombination mapping has contributed to data required to identify another novel gene required for microRNA-mediated gene silencing. Finally, a novel genome annotation project was initiated as our lab expands into evolutionary studies of Drosophila with the Genomics Education Partnership. Taken together, this work used gene identification and analysis to further describe the molecular mechanisms of microRNA-mediated gene silencing, and has begun to contribute to the annotation of portions of Drosophila genomes not previously explored. This research elucidated future directions and expansions of our work, engaged research students in important new collaborations, and generated data for publication.


This research was conducted as part of a Linfield College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant in 2014, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs. Student collaborators were Katherina Rees, James Knox, Rhese Thompson, and Tika Zbornik.