GENE EXPRESSION AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN THE TOXIC ALGA PRYMNESIUM PARVUM
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe toxic alga Prymnesium parvum lives in freshwater environments, and deprived of nutrients, it can cause harmful algal blooms. These blooms are responsible for substantial ecological and economic damage, and they are spreading into new water ways in the Western United States. All the individuals in a bloom do not behave the same, some are more aggressive than others. The genetics behind aggression is difficult to understand because the strains share a very similar genome content. Three loci were chosen for observation due to their differential expression between the strains, and possible relationship to toxicity. One is believed be involved directly with the toxin, and two are α-subunits for G-protein coupled receptors which are involved in signal transduction. The results show that one α-subunit is highly expressed in the aggressive strains and the other is being expressed in the passive strain. Both probably have an effect on the difference in phenotype. From a comparison of α-subunits that have similar structures it was concluded that one appeared to be involved in tubulin formation and the other could be involved in many functions. Further work will need to be done to confirm the correlation, and find the exact function of these α-subunits.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Molecular & Cellular Biology