Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sima Alavi L&S Biological Sciences

Kinase Regulation of LSG1-VAP Interaction

Defects in ribosomal biogenesis can lead to cancerous cells via dysfunctional p53 protein (a tumor suppressor). This phenomenon is caused by defective ribosomal biogenesis leading to accumulation of 5S RNP, an intermediate in ribosomal assembly. 5S RNP accumulation in turn represses the p53 repressor, inhibiting its function, and rendering p53 in a state of overexpression. Overexpression of p53 is ultimately associated with higher risk of cancer. Therefore, understanding the pathway of ribosomal assembly can provide insight into causes of defective ribosomal cancer cells as well as allude to targets for drug therapy. My research aims to understand the interaction between the large ribosomal subunit’s shuttling protein, Nmd3, with the release protein LSG1, and how these proteins localize and interact with VAPs at the endoplasmic reticulum. Release of Nmd3 allows for the continuation of ribosomal biogenesis, thus understanding all possible interactions and functions of the LSG1 release factor can provide useful insight to how and where defects may occur that ultimately yield defective ribosomes.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank my sponsor for funding my research project and express my gratitude for being chosen as a SURF fellow. I’m enthusiastic to pursue my research this summer and am inspired by the support of another. I’m thankful that my sponsor has given me the valuable opportunity to grow as a scientific intellectual.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Roberto Zoncu, Claire Ghoul
Sponsor: Various Donors
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