Molecular and evolutionary analysis of the GATA transcription factor family

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Title: Molecular and evolutionary analysis of the GATA transcription factor family
Author: Lowry, Jason Allen
Advisors: William R. Atchley, Committee Chair
Steven L. Spiker, Committee Member
Michael D. Purugganan, Committee Member
Jeffrey L. Thorne, Committee Member
Abstract: The objective of this research has been to characterize the evolution of the GATA family of transcription factors through phylogenetic, molecular, and biochemical analyses. From a phylogenetic perspective, we address three major questions. First, does this protein family represent a monophyletic or polyphyletic group? Second, what methods of gene or modular duplication are utilized within different organisms to propagate and maintain this group of proteins? Third, what are the structural or functional constraints on evolution of the conserved DNA-binding domain? These questions are addressed through a combination of computational and molecular methods. Phylogenetic analyses provide evidence of monophyletic origin for the GATA family followed by gene duplication and modular evolution, accompanied by considerable divergence outside the conserved zinc finger DNA-binding domain. Genomic comparisons permit the tracing of GATA factor evolution and provide insight into mechanisms utilized by respective organisms. Finally, mutational and biochemical analyses enable the separation of phylogenetic and structural/functional constraints on the conserved zinc finger DNA-binding domain. The result of this research is a predictive motif for classifying potentially homologous proteins to be discovered in future studies.
Date: 2003-03-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Genetics

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