Project Title

Bioinformatics of ngn-1 Transcription Factors

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Martin Hudson

We work with worms and the IRB does not need to be bothered about working on worms.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The transcription factor neurogenin is required for multiple neurodevelopmental processes during vertebrate embryonic development and mutations in this gene are implicated in a variety of human neurological disorders. Despite this, little is known about how this gene controls nervous system development and function. Neurogenin is deeply conserved across phyla. As such, we can investigate neurogenin function in simple organisms such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which has a close ortholog of neurogenin, ngn-1. Previous work in the Hudson lab revealed that ngn-1 mutants have striking axon guidance defects and high levels of embryonic lethality, suggesting that ngn-1 is required for multiple developmental processes in C. elegans.

Using the RNAseq dataset published by Packer et al. (Science, 2019), we are trying to determine what genes are required to activate ngn-1 expression, and how that affects nervous system development and function. Using bioinformatic approaches involving Microsoft Excel, R, and SAS programming, we aim to narrow down which transcription factor genes are expressed in cells immediately before the onset of ngn-1 gene expression. These genes may have a role in controlling ngn-1 function, and ultimately may be candidate genes involved in nervous system disorders in humans.

Project Type

Event

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Bioinformatics of ngn-1 Transcription Factors

The transcription factor neurogenin is required for multiple neurodevelopmental processes during vertebrate embryonic development and mutations in this gene are implicated in a variety of human neurological disorders. Despite this, little is known about how this gene controls nervous system development and function. Neurogenin is deeply conserved across phyla. As such, we can investigate neurogenin function in simple organisms such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which has a close ortholog of neurogenin, ngn-1. Previous work in the Hudson lab revealed that ngn-1 mutants have striking axon guidance defects and high levels of embryonic lethality, suggesting that ngn-1 is required for multiple developmental processes in C. elegans.

Using the RNAseq dataset published by Packer et al. (Science, 2019), we are trying to determine what genes are required to activate ngn-1 expression, and how that affects nervous system development and function. Using bioinformatic approaches involving Microsoft Excel, R, and SAS programming, we aim to narrow down which transcription factor genes are expressed in cells immediately before the onset of ngn-1 gene expression. These genes may have a role in controlling ngn-1 function, and ultimately may be candidate genes involved in nervous system disorders in humans.