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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 Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

PI: Michel M. Sanders

The Biological Functions of the ZEB1 Transcription Factor

The long-term goal of this research is to understand how the ZEB1 transcription factor modulates gene activity and to clarify its biological functions. ZEB1 has recently emerged as an important transcription factor during the development of mesenchymal and neuronal tissues. In addition, it promotes cancer progression by driving the events that lead to metastasis. These researchers are investigating the roles that ZEB1 has in normal adult tissues. One project involves investigating how the gene that encodes ZEB1 is regulated by steroid hormones and growth factors. Another project investigates how ZEB1 opposes fat deposition by modulating intermediary metabolism. ZEB1 expression is induced by estrogen, and estrogen attenuates fat deposition. The goal of this project is to ascertain whether ZEB1 mediates those effects of estrogen. Both of these projects involve creating many mutations in the plasmid encoding ZEB1 as well as in various ZEB1 target promoters. The researchers use Sequence and Mac Vector for this work. In addition, they are doing microarray analyses on mouse embryo fibroblasts that are isolated from ZEB1 null mice and wild-type mice and treated to differentiate into adipocytes. The microarray studies require access to statistical programs and technical assistance.

Group Member

Brian Sandri, Graduate Student