Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Biology (Cell Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology)

Major Professor

Sandra Westerheide


C. elegans, heat shock factor 1, Heat shock response, RNA interference, Saccharomyces cerevisiae


Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is the master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response (HSR), an evolutionarily conserved cellular stress response. HSF1 promotes the expression of a variety of molecular chaperones that aid in restoring protein homeostasis upon exposure to proteoxic stress. However, all of the proteins responsible for regulating the HSR together with HSF1 are unknown. A genome-wide yeast two hybrid screen was performed to identify new S. cerevisiae Hsf1 protein interacting partners. Two GAL4 DNA binding domain-Hsf1 fusion proteins (baits) were constructed with mutations in the Hsf1 C-terminal activation domain to dampen Hsf1 mediated auto-activation of the reporter gene. Each haploid bait strain was mated with a haploid prey strain containing one of ~6,000 S. cerevisiae open reading frames fused to the GAL4 activation domain (prey). Interaction between the bait and prey reconstituted the GAL4 protein enabling it to bind to a GAL4 DNA binding site and activate the HIS3 reporter gene. The identified proteins from 4 screens were pooled generating 240 putative Hsf1 interacting partners. This list was narrowed to 38 candidates by selecting the 15 strongest interactions identified based on colony size and 33 candidates conserved in C. elegans. Hsf1 interactions with the 14 candidates in which protein expression was confirmed were then re-tested by a manual yeast two-hybrid assay. Hsf1 interactions with Sti1, Rim2 and Prp46 were repeatable in this manual assay. A study of the impact of knockdown of each of their C. elegans homolog on the HSR was performed using RNAi in an hsp70-promoter::GFP reporter strain of C. elegans. Preliminary results suggest that knockdown of Sti1 may impact the HSR in the worm. Further study of Sti1 and other potential Hsf1 interacting partners identified in this screen is warranted.

Included in

Biology Commons