Studying Proteins in Flies

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Sonny Tang, ReBUILDetroit scholar from Wayne State University, spent his summer counting a lot of flies while investigating the genetic and biochemical interactions between two genes.


Tang spent his 8-week Summer Research Experience in the Biology lab with mentor Dr. Lori Pile.


“ReBUILDetroit taught me so much about research,” said Tang.  “It’s a lot of work.  I would have never believed any of this.”

Nearly 70 posters were presented during the 2nd annual ReBUILDetroit Summer Research Poster Session at Wayne State University on July 19.

The undergraduate poster session was the culmination of the 8-week Summer Research Experience for scholars in cohorts 2015 and 2016.

Title:  Effects of KDM4A and KDM4B Knockdown in “Drosophila melanogaster”, and Genetic Interactions Between KDM4A and KDM4B with SIN3


The histone deacetylase associating protein SIN3 and histone lysine demethylase homologs KDM4A and KDM4B are regulatory proteins of transcription activity. Whether proteins that regulate these two distinct enzymatic activities interact with each other has not been determined. The results of this work are expected to provide more information about the genetic and biochemical interactions between the two genes, and possibly improve our understanding on the genetic regulation of these genes. To do this, we utilized transgenic Drosophila melanogaster that carry genes of interest. Fly lines were crossed to generate progeny that can define the nature of KDM4A and KDM4B knockdown, and assess possible partnerships and associations with SIN3. So far, the crosses have revealed that ubiquitous knockdown of KDM4A is lethal, and that KDM4B knockdown yields no changes in phenotype. KDM4A and KDM4B are hypothesized to interact with SIN3, and results indicate varying degrees of interaction. Further work may offer more definitive conclusions, and lead toward more understanding of SIN3 with KDM4A and KDM4B.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.