Murray State Theses and Dissertations


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The role of Piwi-clade proteins has been intensively studied in the past several years. Although Piwi proteins associate with small guide RNAs (piRNAs) and together these piRNA-Piwi complexes contribute to post-transcriptional gene regulation, their structure and molecular functions still remain poorly understood. Recently, our laboratory has found that Aubergine (Aub), a member of Piwi-clade proteins from Drosophila, interacts with several proteins in the germline forming large RNA-protein granules (germ granules). In this study, we further investigate biochemical and molecular properties of purified Aub protein. Using different cell expression systems and protein purification approaches, we identified conditions that allowed us to express substantial amounts of Aub amenable to biochemical analysis. Our study describes complete purification of Aub and unexpectedly provides evidence that Aub is a homo-oligomeric protein under native conditions. Our molecular analysis of Aub protein is an important step toward understanding the stoichiometry of RNA-protein complexes crucial for post-transcriptional control of gene expression.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Thesis Advisor

Alexey Arkov

Committee Chair

Gary Zeruth

Committee Member

Chris Trzepacz

Committee Member

Ricky Cox

Committee Member

Dena Weinberger

Document Type

Thesis - Murray State Access only