The ability to sense and respond to changing environmental conditions is a fundamental aspect of all biological systems. The conserved heat shock response in Saccharomyces cerevisiae has proven to be a paradigm for general eukaryotic stress responses. Despite much analysis at the level of gene expression and the functions of those expressed genes, very little is known about the cellular sensor or potential signal transduction pathway that activates the conserved heat shock transcription factor, the Hsf1 protein (referred to as Hsf1). The research outlined in this proposal seeks to identify and characterize proteins that act as regulators of Hsf1. A preliminary screen was performed and resulted in identification of 11 potential positive Hsf1 regulators. The first part of this proposal is dedicated to examining each of these genes for their functional and conserved role in the Hsf1-mediated heat shock response. This will be accomplished using a combination of classic genetic and biochemical techniques (such as deletion analysis and Western blot analysis) and systems-level biological techniques (such as competitive fitness assays and microarrays). The second part of this proposal is dedicated to developing a versatile, quantitative system for identification of both positive and negative regulators of transcription factors, which will be used to further identify Hsf1 regulators. This will be accomplished using common recombinant DNA technology in addition to fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) and barcode DNA sequencing using next generation sequencing technology (Illumina Genome Analyzer II). Overall, this work will significantly increase our knowledge of the heat shock response, and of eukaryotic stress- responsive signal transduction, in general.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the mechanism of the eukaryotic heat shock response has potential far-reaching significance for a number of applications. Manipulation of thermo tolerance could have a direct impact on processes that use yeast or other fungal species for production of medicinal or industrial compounds (for example, insulin, vitamins, and alcohol are produced by recombinant yeast). In addition, the mechanism of many different pathologies are intimately connected to the heat shock response: heat shock protein 90 signaling is required for tumor formation and propagation, protein misfolding (regulated by heat shock proteins) is a hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and prion diseases, among others), and high temperature growth allows fungal pathogens to survive in the human body. Again, understanding and modulating the heat shock response could lead to therapies for these types of diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F08-E (20))
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Janes, Daniel E
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Princeton University
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Gibney, Patrick A; Hickman, Mark J; Bradley, Patrick H et al. (2013) Phylogenetic portrait of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae functional genome. G3 (Bethesda) 3:1335-40
Gibney, Patrick A; Lu, Charles; Caudy, Amy A et al. (2013) Yeast metabolic and signaling genes are required for heat-shock survival and have little overlap with the heat-induced genes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:E4393-402
Welch, Aaron Z; Gibney, Patrick A; Botstein, David et al. (2013) TOR and RAS pathways regulate desiccation tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol Biol Cell 24:115-28