'The role of the Aspergillus fumigatus transcription factor AcuM in governing adherence' - MIMM 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form
INSTRUCTIONS - PROFESSORS: Please print and review this form. Complete or correct the sections, as applicable, from "Supervisor's Name" to "Ethics, safety, and training". Please sign and date near the bottom ("Supervisor's signature").
INSTRUCTIONS - STUDENTS: You may receive this form by email, or you may download it from www.mcgill.ca/science/research/ours/396 after it has been posted. Either way, print and review this form. Complete or correct the sections, from "Student's Name" to "Student's Level", and sign ("Student signature). Ask your supervisor to sign her/his section near the bottom. Take it to the department corresponding to the course number; this may or may not be your own department. Do not register for a '396' course on Minerva until you receive departmental permission. Have a discussion with your supervisor about time/work expectations, keeping in mind that this is a 3-credit course (roughly, 10 hours per week for 12 weeks). Remember that a '396' course is an elective.
INSTRUCTIONS - DEPARTMENTS: After the unit chair/director/designate approves (or not) this project, please notify student. If approved, please give student permission to register on Minerva, and fax this form (with signatures) to the Office for Undergraduate Research in Science at 514-398-8102. The Office for Undergraduate Research in Science will later post the project online at www.mcgill.ca/science/research/ours/396/listing, indicating whether the project is open for students to apply or taken.
QUESTIONS OR FEEDBACK? Contact Victor Chisholm by email, or phone 514-398-5964
Supervisor's Name: Dr. Donald Sheppard
Supervisor's Email: donald [dot] sheppard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Supervisor's Phone: (514) 398 1759
Supervisor's department: Microbiology and Immunology
Course number: MIMM396 (Microbiology)
Term: Winter 2011-2012
Project start date: Monday, January 9, 2012
Project end date: Monday, April 16, 2012
Project title: The role of the Aspergillus fumigatus transcription factor AcuM in governing adherence
Project description: Aspergillus fumigatus is a ubiquitous mold, and is a frequent cause of invasive fungal infection in immunocompromised patients. In these individuals, inhaled conidia of A. fumigatus adhere to the epithelial lining of the respiratory tract. Adherence represents a critical virulence factor for A. fumigatus, and a detailed molecular understanding of this process will help identify novel therapeutic targets. Adherence is the first step in biofilm production, which renders the infection both drug resistant and difficult to eradicate. Recently, a novel polysaccharide governing A. fumigatus adherence has been identified: galactosaminogalactan (GG). This polysaccharide is a component of the fungal cell wall, and when secreted is immunosuppressive, promoting the fungal infection in mouse models.
The transcription factor AcuM was found to govern virulence in Aspergillus fumigatus, in both in vitro and murine in vivo studies. ΔacuM mutants are hypovirulent, and display impaired iron acquisition and gluconeogenesis as well as impaired biofilm production and substrate adherence. Suprisingly, this mutant produces normal to high levels of GG. Thus, we hypothesize that in the absence of AcuM the composition of GG may be altered, or that AcuM may mediate the expression of other factors essential for full function for GG.
In this project, the role of the transcription factor in AcuM in GG mediated adherence will be investigated. In an attempt to determine if AcuM regulates the composition of GG, GG produced by the ΔacuM mutant will be tested for its ability to rescue adherence and biofilm formation by GG-deficient, non-adherent mutants. Conversely, GG produced by wildtype A. fumigatus will be transferred to the ΔacuM mutant, to determine if biofilm formation and adherence can be rescued. The composition of GG isolated from the ΔacuM mutant will be analyzed using biochemical techniques. Finally, whole transcriptome data from the ΔacuM mutant will be correlated with these findings to determine which AcuM dependent factors govern adherence and biofilm formation. These studies aim to clarify the role of the AcuM transcription factor in governing cell wall integrity and fungal virulence in the opportunistic human pathogen, A. fumigatus.
Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.
Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): Final grade shall be based on laboratory performance as evaluated by the research supervisor (50%) and the final written research report (minimum 10 pages) graded by the supervisor and the course coordinator or the coordinator's delegate (50%).
Project status - This project is taken. The professor has no more '396' projects this term.
How students can apply: For MIMM: After all parts of this application form are completed, and the hard copy is signed by the professor and the student, bring this application form and your unofficial transcript to Prof. Gregory Marczynski during office hours, who will review/approve as the course coordinator for MIMM 396 (Microbiology) or MIMM 397 (Immunology).
Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves: Biohazardous substances; Handling chemicals
Student's McGill ID:
Student's Email (first [dot] last [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca):
Student's Level (U0 / U1 / U2 / U3):
Student's signature - I have not applied for another '396' course in this term:
Supervisor's signature - I give my permission for the student identified above to register for this project under my supervision:
Unit chair/director/designate's name: Gregory Marczynski
Unit chair/director/designate's signature - I certify that this project conforms to departmental requirements for 396 courses: