Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB)



Major Professor

Scott Nowak

First Committee Member

Jonathan McMurry

Second Committee Member

Martin Hudson


Akirin is a highly conserved protein that has been linked to myogenesis, cardiomyogenisis, and innate immunity. This investigation focused on Akirin in two different aspects, developmentally and subcellularly. Developmentally, we focused on further characterization of Akirin’s role in embryonic musculature development through its genetic interaction with the basal transcription factor, Taf4. We did this by analyzing muscle patterning in akirin, taf4 double heterozygous mutants. Our data confirm a genetic interaction between akirin and taf4. Subcellularly, we investigated the functionality of an Akirin Nuclear Localization Signal (NLS). Through calcium phosphate transfection of S2 cells and fluorescent imaging, we were able to compare wild-type full-length Akirin protein fused to the Venus fluorescent protein to full length Akirin::Venus fusion protein with alanine mutations in the Akirin NLS to determine if a change in nuclear trafficking patterns occurred. Our data show that all constructs were not able to successfully localize within the nucleus. This could mean that there is a possible interference occurring with the nuclear pore complex, or even nuclear overload occurring.

Available for download on Monday, August 16, 2027