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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Craig A. Vierra

First Committee Member

Lisa Wrischnik

Second Committee Member

Greg Jongeward

Third Committee Member

Kirkwood Land


Little is actually known about the transcriptional regulation of spider silk as most studies have focused on the material properties of silks. We isolated and mapped the TuSp1 core promoter from the black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus. Using a genomic DNA walking strategy, we have isolated an upstream segment (581 bp) of genomic DNA containing the promoter as well as the first exon of the TuSp1 gene. This upstream regulatory element was able to initiate transcription in insect cells when placed upstream the promoterless firefly luciferase reporter gene. Initiation of transcription was orientation dependent, as insertion of this upstream regulatory module in the reverse orientation led to inefficient transcriptional initiation. Only 170 bp of upstream sequence was required for strong transcriptional initiation, showing that core promoter resides within the first 170 bp of upstream 5' -flanking DNA. We also demonstrate the bHLH factor SGSF1 can repress gene transcription of the TuSp1 core promoter, implying SGSF I might participate in the transcriptional regulation of the TuSp1 gene in vivo.



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