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Dr. Indrani Bose's Seminar, “Using RNA Interference to Understand the Virulence and Biology of the Yeast Cryptococcus Neoformans

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On Friday, January 31, 2014 Dr. Indrani Bose gave a seminar about her area of research, and discussed her research objectives. The title of the seminar was “Using RNA Interference to Understand the Virulence and Biology of the Yeast Cryptococcus neoformans”. At the beginning, she first compared and contrasted the budding yeasts of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Cryptococcus neoformans. According to Dr. Bose in the mini-review, A Yeast under Cover: the Capsule of Cryptococcus Neoformans, “C. neoformans is a fungus that is ubiquitous in the environment, where it is found in soil, in association with certain trees, and in bird guano (16)” (1). She also stated because of its ubiquity, that most people had probably been exposed to it from a young…show more content…
Bose stated that her long term goal is to discover better drugs to eradicate this disease from developing in humans. She intends to do this by identifying the genes that are involved in the disease process, and assessing their function. From that point she will attempt to discover or design drugs to inhibit these genes from functioning. There are several factors that affect the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans; from its polysaccharide capsule, to its ability to grow at high temperatures, and its formation of melanin. The last two factors are absolutely necessary to the pathogenicity of the fungi (1).
The Dr. Bose discussed RNA Interference. She said that RNA Interference is used as a tool for “forward genetics”, and that it selectively destroys specific mRNAs, which in turn creates “knock down” phenotypes. Forward genetics is the random inactivation of 1-2 genes at a time, allowing for selectivity of the phenotype. At this point, she began to describe the results from running RNA interference on the Cryptococcus neoformans genome. She discovered that there was too much expression of ADE-2, so she developed a stable marker, URA-5. The URA-5 selected for robust RNA Interference. She discovered that the cells that did well with URA-5 would survive treatment with 5-fluororotic acid, and the cells that did poorly with URA-5 would not survive the treatment. She also determined that silencing was RDP1 dependent. RDP1 is a wild type gene.

Then she developed a library
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