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Title: Mutational analysis of α-catenin in C. elegans
Author: Harrison, Neale
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 6417
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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The long held view of adherens junctions being a rigid complex has recently been questioned.  At the centre of this is α-catenin and the finding that it can not bind both β-catenin and actin simultaneously.  Isolation of a viable α-catenin mutant in the C. elegans homologue hmp-1 provided an excellent opportunity to study this dogma for the first time in a whole organism.  The work presented in this thesis aimed to characterise this mutation (hmp-1(fe4)) and isolate any potential suppressors of it.  On isolation of suppressors, these were used along with hmp-1(fe4) to investigate α-catenin/hmp-1s role at adherens junctions and how this overlaps with its role in regulating the actin cytoskeleton.  This study has demonstrated that a number of suppressors of hmp-1(fe4) do exist and that they are all intragenic.  In addition, the suppressors are capable of complementing a hmp-1 null strain in hmp-1(fe4)s absence.  Further analysis of these mutations by GFP labelling revealed that these mutations alter the proteins pattern of localisation.  It is thought that this alteration in localisation is the cause for the suppressor’s suppressive effect on hmp-1(fe4). Finally the characterisation of a random C. elegans mutant that arose from the hmp-1(fe4) study but was initially not related to it was later shown to have a synthetic lethal effect when in combination with hmp-1(fe4) and therefore a role that is dependent on a fully function α-catenin/hmp-1.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans