• Cloning of actin genes from a genomic library of the newt, Notophthalmus viridescens

      Shannon, William R.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1988-07-09)
      The regenerating urodele limb is a useful model system in which to study, in vivo, the controls of cell proliferation and differentiation. Techniques are available which enable one to experimentally manipulate mitogenic influences upon the blastema, as well the morphogenesis of the regenerating 11mb. Although classical regeneration studies have generated a wealth of knowledge concerning tissue interactions, little 1s known about the process at the level of gene expression. The aim of this project was to clone potentially developmentally regulated genes from a newt genomic library for use in future studies of gene expression during limb regeneration. We decided to clone the cytoskeletal actin gene for the following reasons: 1. its expression reflects the proliferative and differentiatlve states of cells in other systems 2. the high copy number of cytoplasmic actin pseudogenes in other vertebrates and the high degree of evolutionary sequence conservation among actin genes increased the chance of cloning one of the newt cytoplasmic actin genes. 3. Preliminary experiments indicated that a newt actin could probably be identified using an available chick ~-actln gene for a molecular probe. Two independent recombinant phage clones, containing actin homologous inserts, were isolated from a newt genomic library by hybridization with the chick actin probe. Restriction mapping identified actin homologous sequences within the newt DNA inserts which were subcloned into the plasmid pTZ19R. The recombinant plasmids were transformed into the Escherichia coli strain, DHsa. Detailed restriction maps were produced of the 5.7Kb and 3.1Kb newt DNA inserts in the plasmids, designated pTNAl and pTNA2. The short «1.3 Kb) length of the actin homologous sequence in pTNA2 indicated that it was possibly a reverse transcript pseudogene. Problems associated with molecular cloning of DNA sequences from N. viridescens are discussed with respect to the large genome size and abundant highly repetitive DNA sequences.
    • Isolation and characterization of genomic DNA sequences that enhance the stability of plasmid DNA in mammalian cells /

      Manocha, Marcus M. S.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2006-07-14)
      The ease of production and manipulation has made plasmid DNA a prime target for its use in gene transfer technologies such as gene therapy and DNA vaccines. The major drawback of plasmid however is its stability within mammalian cells. Plasmid DNA is usually lost by cellular mechanisms or as a result of mitosis by simple dilution. This study set out to search for mammalian genomic DNA sequences that would enhance the stability of plasmid DNA in mammalian cells.Creating a plasmid based genomic DNA library, we were able to screen the human genome by transfecting the library into Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK 293) Cells. Cells that contained plasmid DNA were selected, using G418 for 14 days. The resulting population was then screened for the presence of biologically active plasmid DNA using the process of transformation as a detector.A commercially available plasmid DNA isolation kit was modified to extract plasmid DNA from mammalian cells. The standardized protocol had a detection limit of -0.6 plasmids per cell in one million cells. This allowed for the detection of 45 plasmids that were maintained for 32 days in the HEK 293 cells. Sequencing of selected inserts revealed a significantly higher thymine content in comparison to the human genome. Sequences with high A/T content have been associated with Scaffold/Matrix Attachment Region (S/MAR) sequences in mammalian cells. Therefore, association with the nuclear matrix might be required for the stability of plasmids in mammalian cells.