My work focuses on the role of posttranslational modification in the regulation of transcriptional activation by the proneural proteins.
The Drosophila proneural proteins are basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors essential for the specification of neural precursors in the peripheral nervous system. Mammalian homologues also have key roles in neural development. For example, Atoh1 is essential for the formation of inner ear hair cells while Atoh7 is essential for retinal ganglion cell development.
In addition Atoh1 has recently been shown to be a tumour suppressor gene. My work focuses on dissecting the molecular mechanisms governing interactions between the proneural proteins and regulatory factors with a particular focus on posttranslational modification by Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO).
We have recently shown that SUMOylation of the zinc finger protein Senseless, a proneural protein coactivator, promotes the function of the proneural-Senseless complex.
Powell, L. (2013). Analysis of DNA-protein interactions using PAGE: band-shift assays. Methods Mol Biol. 1054: 237-51.
Powell, L.M., Chen, A., Huang, Y.C., Wang, P.Y., Kemp, S.E. and Jarman, A.P. (2012). The SUMO pathway promotes bHLH proneural factor activity via a direct effect on the zinc finger protein, Senseless. Mol. Cell. Biol. 32: 2849-2860.
Powell, L.M. & Jarman, A.P. (2008). Context dependence of proneural bHLH proteins. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 18 (5) : 411-7.
Powell, L.M., Deaton, A.M., Wear, M.A. and Jarman, A.P. (2008). Specificity of Atonal and Scute bHLH factors: analysis of cognate E box binding sites and the influence of Senseless. Genes to Cells 13 (9): 915-29.
Powell, L.M., zur Lage, P.I., Prentice, D.R.A., Senthinathan, B. and Jarman, A.P. (2004). The proneural proteins Atonal and Scute regulate neural target genes through different E-box binding sites. Mol. Cell. Biol. 24, Issue 21 (9517-26).
This article was published on Nov 11, 2013