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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19275

Title: Cis-elements Affecting Disease-associated Repeat Sequences
Authors: Hagerman, Katharine Anne
Advisor: Pearson, Christopher E.
Department: Molecular and Medical Genetics
Keywords: trinucleotide
myotonic dystrophy
Spinocerebellar ataxia
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: The expansion of repetitive sequences leads to more than 40 neurological, neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases. These diseases are frequently characterized by ongoing DNA repeat instability upon transmission, worsening of disease severity and decreasing age of onset with each successive generation. The mechanism of repeat instability and contribution of repeat instability to disease pathogenesis are unknown. My thesis examines the contribution of cis-elements – sequences around and within repeats as well as surrounding epigenetic environments – to repeat instability, and discusses their possible contribution to repeat diseases. Here I identify the first cis-element regulating repeat instability, a DNA binding site for a trans factor protein, CTCF. Loss of CTCF binding at the spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 disease locus induces somatic and germline instability in an age- and tissue-specific manner in mice. CTCF protects against instability in an epigenetic manner, and may function at other disease loci also possessing CTCF binding sites near the repeat. Given that CTCF flanks many repeat loci and is often situated between a replication origin and disease-associated repeat, I assess the role of CTCF on replication and instability at the myotonic dystrophy repeat locus. Templates with CTCF binding sites reduce overall replication efficiency in primate cells that may be partly due to replication fork stalling. Mutating CTCF binding sites can alter the stability of the repeat depending on the distance from the origin of replication to the repeat. Finally I examine chromatinization of (ATTCT)n repeats from the spinocerebellar ataxia type 10 locus. These repeats induce very strong nucleosome formation, and at physiological conditions form even more strongly on (ATTCT)n repeats with interruptions that are also found in some patients. These data contribute to the understanding of repeat instability in the causation of many diseases, and suggest that the presence of cis-elements at repeat-associated disease loci alter the behaviour of repeats.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19275
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Molecular Genetics - Doctoral theses

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