Blessing Awogbamila, Kwangwon Lee (faculty)
Photoperiodism is the response of organisms to seasonal or annual changes in their environment, such as a change in day–length. Our lab sought to identify the specific genes that photoperiodism of Neurospora crassa are involved in because the photoperiodic conditions are not well described. Our previous study identified multiple candidate genes for measuring photoperiodism in N. crassa. In this current study, our lab developed the protoperithecia assay (PPA). Protoperithecia is a female sexual reproductive structure in N. crassa, and it is known that it is responsive to different photoperiods. Our working genetic pathway model is used to identify the complete genetic mechanism for measuring photoperiod in N. crassa. For this model we used previous data, published in the Fungi Database, and the PPA on the candidate genes. We were interested in kinase mutant stk–16 (FGSC#13072) and phosphatase mutant pzl–1(FGSC#11548). Kinase has a normal function of adding phosphate groups to proteins, phosphatase has a normal function of removing phosphate groups from proteins. As stated in the previous studies cited in Fungi Database, the kinase mutant causes a severely reduced amount of protoperithecia to be formed. The phosphatase mutant causes an increase in protoperithecia production. In this study, our aim is to repeat the experiment in order to replicate the data and generate new data with additional photoperiods. Understanding the mechanisms behind photoperiodism in N. crassa will provide insight in mechanisms behind circadian rhythms of a diverse eukaryotic organisms including humans.