Date of Award

6-1-2014

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Steven M. Ackerman

Second Advisor

Manickam Sugumaran

Third Advisor

Gregory Beck

Abstract

NF-kB is a transcription factor that plays an important role in innate and adaptive immune responses. Dysregulation of this factor leads to many anti-apoptotic as well as pro-inflammatory disorders. Although NF-kB is present in animal cells, it has not been positively identified in plant cells. Circumstantial evidence, however, leads us to speculate on the presence of a NF-kB-like transcription factor in plants. It has been shown that the NIM1 protein from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana shares significant identity with IkB, an inhibitor of the NF-kB protein. Similarly, the presence of putative kB DNA sequences upstream of some genes in the Arabidopsis genome also indicates the possible presence of an NF-kB like factor in plants. This study was conducted to identify an NF-kB-like transcription factor in plants. We used consensus animal NF-kB sequences and five different Arabidopsis putative kB-like sequences and used a bioinformatic approach to examine their presence and location around Arabidopsis genes, upstream of their transcription start sites. We also determined if plant proteins interact with these sequences in order to identify plant protein(s) that bind to any of these sequences using electrophoretic mobility shift assays. We found that protein(s) in the extract from Arabidopsis showed binding interaction with putative kB-like sequences in vitro, indicating the possible presence of NF-kB like-proteins in plants. Given the known importance of NFkB pathway in animal cells, identification of NFkB-like proteins in plant cells will deepen our insights into mechanistic basis of immune regulation in plants. Findings of this study will help to further dissect the defense mechanism in plants, including A. thaliana.

Comments

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