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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences
Medical School
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

PI: David T. Kirkpatrick

Genomic Stability of Repetitive Minisatellite DNA Sequences

The Kirkpatrick lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of DNA repair, and the cellular processes in which they are involved, in the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans. In a project considering DNA stability in stationary phase yeast cells, they identified a novel assay that reveals alterations in repetitive DNA sequences that occur specifically in stationary phase, post-mitotic, cells. They are using this assay to identify all factors, both genetic and environmental, that affect the stability of repetitive DNA sequences in stationary phase cells. This is vitally important, as the vast majority of the cells in the human body are in a post-mitotic, stationary state, and it is these cells that undergo mutations that lead to human diseases such as cancer. The researchers are currently screening the complete yeast genome for essential and non-essential genes that affect the stability of various minisatellite tracts in stationary phase cells.

Another project investigates DNA repair pathways in C. albicans, which is a commensal organism in humans, but also an opportunistic pathogen, especially in immunocompromised individuals. The researchers are investigating the various DNA repair pathways (base excision repair, nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, and double- strand break repair) in Candida. The long-term goal of this project is to identify the cellular DNA repair factors that act on the genome of Candida, and the role that those factors play in the acquisition of antifungal drug resistance by the yeast, to aid in drug design and improve patient recovery percentages.

Group Members

Bonnie Alver, Graduate Student
Peter Jauert, Research Associate
Andrea Le Clere, Graduate Student