2013 Participants
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NAME: Heath Blankenship

PROJECT TITLE: Epigenetic Role of MLL2 in Spermatogenesis

Chromatin condensation must be highly regulated within biological organisms.  Incorrect condensation may alter transcriptional activity and thus affect the health of the cell/organism.  Histone methylation is one method by which chromatin condensation is regulated and is associated with either transcriptional activation or transcriptional repression. For instance, H3K4 and H3K9 have been linked to transcriptional activation and transcriptional repression respectively.  MLL2 is known to function in the methylation of K4 of histone H3, and mutations in this gene have been linked to Kabuki syndrome.  Utilizing mouse models, the phenotypic effects, if any, of altered epigenetic factors, in this case MLL2, can be observed.  Our previous work indicates that MLL2 knockout mutants produce sperm with altered head shape and analysis with fluorescence microscopy indicates altered chromatin condensation.  This research attempts to further explore the effects of MLL2 on spermatogenesis and either confirm or refute the hypothesis that decreased MLL2 expression leads to altered chromatin condensation and eventual fragmentation of the chromatin. Sperm biology of wild type (Wt) and conditional knockout mice will be analyzed and the effects of the altered histone H3 methylation on chromatin condensation will be elucidated via bright field and fluorescent microscopy as well as DNA gel electrophoresis


To view Heath's website click here