Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology

First Advisor

Min Han

Abstract

MicroRNAs serve a regulatory function in an array of cellular pathways. Using existing immunoprecipitation data that identified distinct differences in miRNA and gene enrichment in muscle cells in C. elegans, a preliminary RNAi screen was run to identify potential significant miRNA targets in muscle cells. The screen identified two potential genes, twk-12 and calm-1, predicted to be regulated by miRNA-51. In order to determine the importance of miR-51 regulation of different muscle targets, RT-PCR was performed in a number of miRNA mutant strains and 3’-UTR reporters were constructed for twk-12 and calm-1. Based on these experiments, twk-12 may be regulated by mir-51, and calm-1, twk-28, and other important genes in muscle cells are likely subject to miRNA regulation. To determine any physiological consequences of miRNA regulation, ion assays were performed by subjecting worms to different concentrations of pharmacological agents that alter cellular ion concentrations. Mir-51(-) mutant worms proved to be more susceptible to altered calcium concentrations, suggesting a role of miR-51 in calcium regulation.

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