Byron Young, II

Byron Young, II

PI: William Tansey, PhD, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Functions of MYC and WDR5 in Cancer

MYC is a transcription factor whose overexpression is partly responsible for cancer. MYC is activated by binding to the protein MAX as an obligate heterodimer and utilizes enhancer boxes to attach to target sections ofDNA, which creates the interaction that leads to gene transcription. The purpose of this research is to explore the central portion of the MYC gene in hopes of discovering ways in which we can prevent the transition of proto oncogenic cells to oncogenic cells. The central portion is located  between the transcription activation domain and the DNA binding domain, and is home to three conserved MYC boxes that are homologous to an array of other species. The MYC boxes that are located within the central portion are MbIIIa, MbIIIb, and MbIV. The central portion is uncharacterized and most functions are unknown. Explorative measures into the central portion may regulate the proliferation of oncogenic cells by discovering what causes the overexpression of MYCand halting the misregulated cell cycle progression. A recent discovery reveals the interaction of MYC and the chromatin-bound molecule WDR5. The MYC-WDR5 Nexus stably associates MYC with chromatin and determines the target genes that will respond. This relationship is being researched to identify any proteins that may assist WDR5 with the recruitment of MYC and its contribution to tumorigenesis. In the lab, we are seeking protein indicator through biochemical and molecular biology techniques; these methods include SDS PAGE, PCR, Protein Purification and Western Blot.