Request for Funding
Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2000
Mentor: William J. Snell, Ph.D.
Department: Cell Biology
Room number: K2-226
Mail Code: 9039
Phone number: 214-648-2332
Project title: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Fusion During Fertilization
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Project Type: basic research
Brief Description of Project:
The long-term goals of my research are to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of fertilization in eucaryotic cells. Although a significant amount is known about the cell biology of sperm-egg interactions, we still know very little about the molecules that gametes use to fuse with each other to form the fertilized egg (diploid zygote). Our laboratory uses the mating reaction (fertilization) of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model system for studies of the cell and molecular biology of gamete fusion. Like the sperm and egg in higher organisms, when the sex cells of Chlamydomonas (called mt+ and mt- gametes) come into contact, the cells bind to each other and become activated (http://www.jbc.org/cgi/content/full/274/48/34383). The activated cells are then capable of cell-cell fusion to form the diploid zygote and begin a new phase of the life cycle. This project focuses on identifying and characterizing molecules that are required for cell fusion. We know that these cell fusion molecules must be found on the tip of a specialized cell surface structure called the fertilization tubule. We developed methods to remove fertilization tubules from activated gametes and purify the fertilization tubules (http://www.jcb.org/cgi/content/full/137/7/1537). The summer project will involve the use of cell biological, biochemical, and molecular methods to identify and characterize molecules in the isolated organelles that are required for fusion.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
I have had several summer students work in my laboratory, who have been authors on numerous abstracts.
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