Gene reporter/probe systems are becoming known as the best way to study movement and activation of cells, protein-protein interactions, and other aspects of signal transduction non-invasively. The problems with current reporter probe systems have either been their lack of biocompatibility due to immunogencity, low sensitivity, expression throughout normal tissues endogenously, or their inability to sequester the imaging agent within the cell in a high affinity interaction. PSMA possesses many properties that are desirable in an effective gene reporter/probe system. It is a human transmembrane protein that is primarily expressed in a specific tissue and possesses enzymatic and transporter activity. By taking advantage of these properties of PSMA, we hope to develop a PSMA-based reporter-probe system. The general goal of the current project will be to address the """"""""poor sensitivity, specificity and spatial localization of molecular probes that can be used in humans"""""""". If successful, the PSMA gene reporter-probe system may represent a clinically translatable alternative to those that currently exist. Note: As a first year student, I have not yet chosen a thesis lab. This feasible plan is based on rotation research and my interests.
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