Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type



Chemistry & Biochemistry

First Advisor

James A. Goodrich

Second Advisor

Jennifer F. Kugel


It is essential to study transcription factors that regulate synthesis of IL-2 mRNA because IL-2 is primarily regulated at the transcription level. Two transcription factors that have a unique ability to synergistically activate IL-2 transcription are NFATc2 and cJun. The putative zinc finger on the C-terminal domain of NFATc2 hinted us that zinc might affect the interaction between NFATc2 and cJun homodimers. In this research, we studied the effect of zinc on the interaction between NFATc2 and cJun homodimers. By using GST pull down assay, we found that zinc enhances the interaction between NFATc2 and cJun homodimers. Zinc was unique in enhancing this interaction because other divalent metal ions such as calcium, manganese and magnesium did not enhance the interaction. In addition, preliminary results from DNA pull down assay showed that NFATc2 might be recruiting cJun to the IL-2 promoter. Moreover, FRET assay results showed that there could be a change in the conformation of NFATc2 when zinc was present. This might be the reason behind the enhancement of interaction between NFATc2 and cJun homodimers in the presence of zinc because zinc changes the conformation of NFATc2, which might be the conformation that has higher interacting ability with cJun homodimers.