The Isolation and Characterization of a tfiia-s-2 mutant in Drosophila melanogaster

Student: Maura Coughlin (Dept. of Biological Sciences)

Faculty Adviser: Mark Hiller (Dept. of Biological Sciences)


Spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster is a highly regulated process that relies heavily on cell-specific transcription, though the specific mechanisms of regulation are not completely understood. TFIID and TFIIA are two General Transcription Factors known to be important for transcription initiation, and testis-specific subunits of TFIID and TFIIA are believed to play a role in transcription and spermatid differentiation within the testis. TFIIA is comprised of three subunits: alpha, beta, and gamma. A homolog of the gene that encodes the TFIIA gamma subunit, known as tfiia-s-2, is only expressed in the testis. The phenotype resulting from a mutation in tfiia-s-2 is not yet known. Mutations in testis-specific homologs of TFIID subunits are known to disrupt transcription in the testis and halt spermatid differentiation. Because TFIIA and TFIID function closely together during transcription initiation, we propose that a fly with a tfiia-s-2 mutation will have a similar phenotype. We will use homologous recombination to isolate a tfiia-s-2 mutant.

Click here for the research poster presented at the Fifth Annual Landmark Conference Summer Research Symposium