Tara Sulur L&S Sciences
Determining the Sub-cellular Localization of Neuronal Protein Homologs in Choanoflagellates using Transmission Electron Microscopy
Choanoflagellates are single-celled eukaryotic organisms that are the most recent ancestor to multicellular animals. As such, they possess most of the proteins required for the transition to multicellularity. One choanoflagellate protein in particular, Homer, has been shown through immumofluorescence to localize to the nucleus. I will be using transmission electron microscopy with Immunogold staining and membrane fractionation to discover the sub-cellular localization of Homer. In animals, Homer plays a crucial role in adhesion and scaffolding at the synapses of neurons. Since neuro-sensory systems are unique to metazoans, I hope to take a step towards figuring out the function of a neuronal protein homolog in an organism with no neural function and hopefully learn more about the evolutionary history of multicellular animals.