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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

THE EFFECTS OF PHYSICAL INTERACTIONS ON THE CONSERVATION OF INSULIN-SIGNALING PATHWAY GENES BETWEEN D. MELANOGASTER AND D. ARIZONAE

Abstract

Humans are susceptible to various diseases that impact their quality of life, including: cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and diabetes. It is known that diabetes can be affected by an individual’s diet, exercise, and genetic variations. In Type II Diabetes, the insulin-signaling pathway (ISP) is disrupted, resulting in the inability to uptake insulin. The ISP consists of a delicate balance of interactions between various gene products to maintain the system. These interactions can constrain the evolutionary divergence of the pathway genes. The main goal of this study is to observe the effects of physical interactions, obtained from FlyBase, on the conservation of genes between Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila arizonae. The study observed the conservation of the genomic neighborhood, the overall gene structure, and the protein sequence. The genes that were observed for the study were Ilp1 (two interactions), Ilp5 (five interactions), eIF4E1 (54 interactions), and Tsc1 (236 interactions). We used BLAST to identify the potential ortholog of each gene in D. arizonae and then used the UCSC Genome Browser to examine the genomic neighborhood of each gene and confirm orthology. We also used the Genome Browser to annotate the start and stop codons and exon-intron borders of each gene in D. arizonae to build a new gene model. The Gene Model Checker provided the protein sequence and an alignment of each ortholog in D. arizonae against that of D. melanogaster, along with an indication of the percent identity between the orthologs. We observed only a weak relationship between the number of physical interactions and the percent identity between the orthologs, with the following percent identities: Ilp1 (39.0%), Ilp5 (29.8%), eIF4E1 (78.0%), and Tsc1 (62.9%).

Acknowledgements

Genomics Education Partnership, CSU Department of Biology

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