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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

The Role of RAD57 in Mitochondrial Direct Repeat-Mediated Deletions

Mitochondria, found in eukaryotic cells, are the powerhouses of the cell. They are responsible for cellular respiration resulting in the production of ATP. Failure to maintain the mitochondrial genome can result in loss of respiration leading to cellular dysfunction. As a result, human diseases such as diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative disorders, certain cancers, and other age-dependent diseases arise. The lab has developed genetic assays to study genes required to maintain the stability of the mitochondrial genome in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our model organism is a facultative anaerobe that is able to survive in the absence of respiration. This presentation will focus on the role of the RAD57 gene. The gene is a member of the RAD52 epitasis group of genes (RAD50, RAD51, RAD52, RAD54, RDH54/TID1, RAD55, RAD57, RAD59, MRE11, and XRS2). These genes have been shown to play a role in homologous recombination and double-strand break repair in the nucleus. The product of the RAD57 gene is believed to function by stimulating strand exchange by stabilizing the product of the RAD51 gene to single-stranded DNA complexes. The lab is interested in determining whether the RAD57 gene plays a role in mitochondrial genome recombination through the use of a direct repeat-mediated deletion assay. In addition, RAD57 strains will be assayed for respiration loss, spontaneous point mutation, mitochondrial nucleoid structure and morphology.

Presenters: Angela Schwingel (Graduate Student)
Katherine Smolnycki (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Biological Sciences
Location: 127 Hartwell
Time: 9 am (Session I)