How a DNA Repair Enzyme (DME) Controls Gene Transcription

Carolina Dallett : Plant and Microbial Biology

Mentor: Professor Robert Fischer, Plant Biology

The Arabidopsis thaliana genome has been sequenced, allowing use of sophisticated tools for genetic studies. It is known that DME controls gene transcription, encodes a DNA glycosylase, and has homologous proteins in the Arabidopsis genome as well as orthologs in rice, wheat, and maize. We do not know, however, how this is accomplished. Carolina will investigate the DEMETER protein, essential for seed viability in Arabidopsis, using molecular tools and genetics. The project has two phases: 1) To determine if the family member proteins can replace the DME protein; 2) determine what portions of the DME protein give it its unique ability to control gene transcription. The results of Carolina's senior thesis in Plant and Microbial Biology may contribute to understanding the general biology of DNA repair and DNA transcription of major agricultural crops.