Panel 2

Exploring the Biological Mechanisms of Disease

Hanna Stenzel (Biology)
Characterizing dual infection and superinfection inhibition in a natural host with scanning confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy
Mentor: Dr. Joseph Nguyen

Hosts can be infected with multiple herpesviruses, known as superinfection; however, superinfection of cells is rare due to the phenomenon known as superinfection inhibition. While it is believed that dual infection of cells can occur in nature, it has not been directly shown in a natural model. Thus, it is important to find and study a good natural model for dual infection of cells so we can better understand pathogenic principles of human herpesvirus disease. The presentation will discuss the efforts made towards effectively identifying the infectious viruses utilizing both scanning confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

Meghan Nelson (Biology)
Discovering candidate genes causing glaucoma through protein-protein interaction studies between Lyst and Casein Kinase II using the yeast two-
Mentor: Dr. Alesia Hruska-Hageman

Glaucoma, one of the leading forms of blindness worldwide, is caused by damage to the optic nerve.  The most common mechanism leading to optic nerve damage is increased ocular pressure.  Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) is a disease of the iris in which cells of the iris come off and causes an increase in intraocular pressure often leading to optic nerve damage.  Mice with symptoms similar to XFS have been identified to have a mutation in the Lyst gene causing a single amino acid mutation in the protein LYST.  LYST has previously been shown to interact with Casein Kinase II.  To better understand the molecular mechanism causing glaucoma, the yeast two-hybrid assay will be used to determine if the mutation in LYST prevents its interaction with Casein Kinase II.