Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Britney Weng L&S Sciences

Applying Proximity-Assisted Photoactivation to Study PTEF-b Regulation


In humans, Positive Transcription Elongation Factor b (P-TEFb) is an RNA Polymerase II regulator crucial for proper gene expression. To execute its regulatory function, P-TEFb itself is precisely regulated via reversible interactions with an snRNP complex. Using biochemical techniques, past studies have confirmed LARP7, HEXIM1, and BRD4 to be protein partners of P-TEFb. My project aims to study the dynamic regulatory role of known protein partners LARP7, HEXIM1, and BRD4 in P-TEFb regulation. I will apply a new technique called proximity-assisted photoactivation (PAPA) to single particle tracking (SPT) and live cell imaging in order to examine protein-protein interactions between P-TEFb and each protein partner in human osteosarcoma cells. PAPA involves a sender fluorophore reactivating a receiver fluorophore when the two are in proximity. By tagging P-TEFb and each partner with these fluorophores, PAPA can be used to detect their interaction corresponding to the sub-population of protein complexes showing sender and receiver fluorescence.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you for this valuable opportunity to engage in independent research this summer! Your generosity has actualized my wishes as an undergraduate researcher, for which I"m very grateful. I feel very supported on this journey of science!
Profile image of Britney Weng
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Business Administration
Mentor: Robert Tjian
Sponsor: Anselm MPS Fund
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