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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Gregg Jongeward

First Committee Member

Craig A. Vierra

Second Committee Member

Lisa Wrischnik


The basic helix-loop-helix (bHbH) family-of transcription factors is important in many developmental and regulatory pathways such as cellular proliferation and differentiation, lineage commitment, sex determination, neurogenesis, myogenesis, hematopoeisis and pancreatic development. The free-living nematode Caenorhabdits elegans is an important model organism. Genetics studies of a gene in nematodes help us to better understand the functioning of hornologs in more complex organisms. These studies investigate the nematode homolog of ABF-1, CeABF-1, and its potential role in the development of C. elegans. The BLAST Database ( predicted a bHLH protein in C. elegans, located on cosmid ZK682.4, of 170 amino acids with an overall 51% similarity to human ABF-1. Importantly, it had a 72% similarity to human ABF-1 within the bHLH domain. Genomic and eDNA clones of CeABF-1 were isolated using whole nematodes and PCR methods. Clones were constructed that would allow us to use green fluorescent protein (GFP) to localize CeABF-1 expression. We also used RNA interference to determine the function of CeABF-1. No obvious phenotype was observed in nematodes unable to produce the CeABF-1 protein. Preliminary studies suggest that CeABF-1 is not an essential gene for development in C. elegans. Constructs were also made for protein induction and antibody studies. Further studies are necessary to determine how CeABF-1 is involved in nematode development and its interaction with other proteins.



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