Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Ruchika Singla L&S Sciences

Investigating the Enhancer Environment Through Proximity Labeling with TurboID

Embryos begin development using maternally-deposited RNA, but at a critical point in development, embryos begin to transcribe their own genomes. In Drosophila melanogaster, the maternally-deposited transcription factor Zelda is a key regulator of this transition. It binds to non-coding regulatory sequences known as enhancers to regulate the activity of early expressed genes. While the presence and actions of Zelda are known, details regarding its mode of enhancer activation and interactions with other proteins are still not well understood. My goal is to identify proteins that Zelda interacts with with the expectation that this will fill missing information about the mechanism of its activity. In order to further understand the mechanism of enhancer activation during early embryogenesis, I will use proximity labeling to identify proteins that associate with Zelda. This process involves introducing TurboID and miniTurboID enzymes that will attach a small molecule label, biotin, to nearby proteins to fly lines. This project will unlock information about the enhancer environment in general by enhancing our understanding of other proteins that are proximal to Zelda during this critical time in development.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank the Pergo Fund for their generous donation this summer. Even though the summer did not look like what any of us has originally planned, I believe that my experience as a SURF fellow prepared me to better communicate my plan of action to my peers and to adapt to the circumstances. This experience helped me to develop skills outside of the laboratory, including reading scientific literature and presenting my results in a concise manner understandable to a wider audience. I hope to continue fostering these skills whenever I can return to the lab to complete my project.
Profile image of Ruchika Singla
Major: MCB (Developmental Genetics)
Mentor: Michael Eisen
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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