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Mentor: Minnetta Gardinier, PhD
Year Entered Into Program: 2003
PhD Institution: University of Iowa, 2008 (MS)
Myelin oligodendrocyte protein (MOG) is a protein found exclusively in the myelin wrapping cells of the central nervous system, oligodendrocytes. The oligodendrocytes function to insulate neurons with several tightly packed lipid-enriched layers. MOG’s function is unknown although some research suggests that it may be a receptor. In most mammals, there is only one variant of MOG, but primates express seven different splice variants.
The cytoplasmic tail of mouse MOG was used in a yeast-two-hybrid assay to identify putative interacting partners. A member of the stathmin family was identified as an interacting partner. Stathmin and stathmin-like proteins act as microtubulin destabilizing proteins but it is unclear which member of the stathmin family interacts with MOG. In the future I plan on determining which stathmin member interacts with MOG, and also characterizing this interaction.
Since the four amino acids in MOG critical for interaction with stathmin are not found in five of the seven MOG splice variants, it is likely that these other variants have different interacting partners. To identify these partners, yeast-two-hybrid screens are currently being performed using peptides specific to two of the MOG splice variants.
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