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Address: 1-500 BSB
Phone: (319) 335-7735
Mentor: Tom Rutkowski, PhD
Undergraduate Institution: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, BS
Year Entered Into Program: 2010
general goal of my current research project is to understand how the endoplasmic
reticulum (ER) senses and deals with stress from the cell through the unfolded
protein response (UPR). The UPR mediated by three proteins within the ER: ATF6,
Ire1 and Perk. These proteins sense stress, and act to alleviate it by
inhibiting protein synthesis, degrading mRNA's or even cell death under extreme
conditions. Although originally defined as sensing stress arising from misfolded
proteins, protein aggregation and excess protein synthesis, it has been recently
shown that the UPR has a much broader role in cellular homeostasis.
studies from our lab have suggested that the UPR plays an important role in
establishing cellular homeostasis through transcriptional programming. The UPR
has been shown to modulate genes involved in lipid biosynthesis. These
observations brought about the idea that the UPR regulates more processes in the
cell than just those sensed when proteins are misfolded.
little is known about how the UPR senses these stresors and how it modulates its
response to them. The UPR must be able to discern between different stresses,
activate one or more of the UPR resident components and culminate in up- or
downregulation of genes to return the cell to homeostasis. However, the UPR must
also be able to identify the strength and persistence of a stress, in addition
to the type. The UPR must balance competing processes, such as upregulation of
ER chaperones versus downregulation of protein synthesis; or in the most extreme
case, between adaptation and survival or apoptosis.
research goal is to understand how the UPR senses different stresses and how it
modulates it output towards those stresses. In this complex signaling pathway,
there are many proteins and genes involved in modulating the response. The
specific contribution of the UPR components is paramount in determining how the
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