65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
David Markwardt, Associate Dean of the OWU Connection
Project Title: Characterization of the Yeast Gene YDL218W: Carbon Source-Dependent Growth Rates and Cell Wall Defects
Mentor: David Markwardt
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a common model for the study of metazoan cell biology, contains many uncharacterized open reading frames (ORFs) that code for proteins with unknown functions. The goal of the NSF-funded Yeast ORFan Gene Project is to characterize these genes and understand the function of the proteins they code for. Our research has focused on one of these genes called YDL218W. Some sequence data suggests that YDL218W may be involved in the formation or maintenance of the yeast cell wall, and our research has focused on comparing the growth patterns of our deletion mutant with wild type. We tested the effects of different carbon sources in mutant and wild type strains by conducting a colony formation assay. In addition, we quantified growth rates of our two strains in different carbon sources derived from growth curves. We found that fermentable carbon sources yielded higher growth rates, but found little difference in growth of the mutant compared to the wild type. Currently we are planning to expose our mutant to dyes that bind to particular components in the cell wall that can be observed using fluorescent microscopy. This will offer a detailed picture of the cell wall structure and allow us to observe any differences between our wild type and mutant. We also plan to subject both strains to chemical or physical stressors, and use our dyes to note changes in cell wall integrity. We hypothesize that these stressors will cause a measurable difference in cell wall and related structures in the mutant. If confirmed, such findings could potentially aid future researchers in developing treatments for human fungal infections among other uses.