Poster Title (Current Submission)

Neurofibromatosis II Protein – Merlin – Inhibiting Glial Tumorigenesis

Major

Integrative Physiology

Minor

Spanish

Mentor Name

Dr. Marlan Hansen

Other Mentor Department

University of Iowa Department of Otolaryngology

Abstract

Merlin (Moesin-Ezrin-Radixin-Like) is a tumor suppressor protein predominantly found in nervous tissue where it links actin filaments to cytoskeleton and helps regulate cell signaling. In the familial cancer syndrome Neurofibromatosis I, mutated Merlin can be found in neoplasms, including vestibular schwannomas.

While Merlin’s influence on cell cycling and suppression of tumorigenesis has been well studied, its physiological function is generally poorly understood. Models have suggested that Merlin correlates with cell cycle entry via interactions with certain transmembrane receptors, like Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (ErbB2). Recent studies also indicate entry into the nucleus and suppression of the oncogenic E3 ligase CRL4DCAF1 transcriptional initiation regulator.

To provide more direct evidence of these interactions, a functional Merlin tagged with CFP (cyan florescent protein) will be transfected into human schwannoma cells. Merlin’s intracellular activities can then be visually monitored using fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy.

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Neurofibromatosis II Protein – Merlin – Inhibiting Glial Tumorigenesis

Merlin (Moesin-Ezrin-Radixin-Like) is a tumor suppressor protein predominantly found in nervous tissue where it links actin filaments to cytoskeleton and helps regulate cell signaling. In the familial cancer syndrome Neurofibromatosis I, mutated Merlin can be found in neoplasms, including vestibular schwannomas.

While Merlin’s influence on cell cycling and suppression of tumorigenesis has been well studied, its physiological function is generally poorly understood. Models have suggested that Merlin correlates with cell cycle entry via interactions with certain transmembrane receptors, like Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (ErbB2). Recent studies also indicate entry into the nucleus and suppression of the oncogenic E3 ligase CRL4DCAF1 transcriptional initiation regulator.

To provide more direct evidence of these interactions, a functional Merlin tagged with CFP (cyan florescent protein) will be transfected into human schwannoma cells. Merlin’s intracellular activities can then be visually monitored using fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy.