Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology


Biomedical Sciences

Committee Chair

Joshua Smith


The packaging of chromatin plays a vital role in the ability of the genes to be accessible or inaccessible to transcription, which leads to expression or prevention of protein formation. Acetylation decreases the DNA-histone interaction allowing the chromatin to become euchromatin, or transcriptionally active DNA. GCN5, ESA1, and CHD1 are three proteins that are involved in this process. GCN5 and ESA1 are histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and CHD1 is a bromodomain containing protein that is recruited to sites of acetylation. Proteins in these complexes have been linked to DNA damage recognition and repair in other organisms, so this thesis project explores if they have a definitive role in activating DNA repair processes. Unique functions in DNA damage repair for each protein were found. Various experimental procedures such as survivability assays and quantitative realtime PCR were used to elucidate GCN5, ESA1, and CHD1's roles in DNA repair. It was also observed that cells with GCN5 overexpression cannot live under starvation conditions. This phenomenon was studied and it was discovered that a down-regulation of superoxide dismutase in these cells causes an increase in reactive oxygen species causing premature death.


GCN5, CHD1, ESA1, starvation, DNA damage, Tetrahymena thermophila

Subject Categories

Medical Molecular Biology


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