Protein trafficking involves the movement of a protein to a particular place within a cell. If proteins localize incorrectly, the proteins are unable to perform their function in the correct part of cells; cells then can become diseased and die. However, how proteins accomplish this is poorly understood. I worked on identifying the trafficking signals necessary to localize a particular protein, Hyperpolarization Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-gated Channel 1 (HCN1), within rod photoreceptor cells (rods). Rods have a unique compartmentalized structure where specific proteins have to move to a single compartment to be functional. We suspect HCN1 needs to traffic to one compartment for normal function of these cells. To examine the trafficking signals, I created transgenic frogs, Xenopus laevis, that expressed HCN1 and looked for localization of the protein. The localization process for HCN1 in photoreceptors may provide a unique method that can be applied to other cell types.
David Yamaguchi, ’15
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sponsor: Barbara Christie-Pope