Jennifer L. Conner
Jennifer L. Conner, Analysis of Maize Proteins that Bind DNA Lesions
Faculty Chair: Dr. Ann Stapleton
Anthropogenic emissions of pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons and halons result in stratospheric ozone depletion. As the ozone layer is reduced, increasing levels of solar UV-B radiation are reaching the earth. Damage attributed to UV-B radiation includes damage to DNA in plants. The best-studied UV radiation-induced DNA lesion is the cyclobutane-type pyrimidine dimer. Very little is know about this lesion and its removal in maize plants, but if maize is like all other organisms in which repair has been studied, then this lesion can be removed by the excision mechanism. The genes that encode excision repair proteins in maize have not been identified. I have characterized proteins that specifically recognize DNA lesions in a set of wildtype and mutant maize lines, and I have screened for genes that encode these proteins in maize cDNA library.