Megan E. Dowdle

Degree Program: Integrated Program in Biochemistry
Faculty Advisor: Michael D. Sheets
Phone: (608) 262-1347

Current Research

Bicaudal-C (Bic-C) is an important RNA binding protein required for embryonic development and the development and function of specific adult organs in species ranging from flies to humans. Previous work from our lab established that Xenopus Bic-C binds to a 32-nucleotide region within the 3’UTR of the maternal mRNA encoding the Cripto-1 protein and represses its translation. I am defining the important sequence features of the Bic-C binding site at nucleotide resolution using a mutational approach in conjunction with electrophoretic mobility shift and fluorescence anisotropy assays to measure Bic-C binding. In addition, I am working in collaboration with the Coon lab to identify proteins through mass spectrometry that interact with Bicaudal-C that contribute to its repression activity. The data from these experiments will increase our understanding of how Bic-C works to repress its target mRNAs and advance our knowledge of how Bic-C modulates cell-fate decisions during vertebrate development.


Sheets, M.D., Fox, C.A., Dowdle, M.E., Blaser, S., Chung, A., and S.Park (2015) Controlling the Messenger: Regulated translation of maternal mRNAs in Xenopus laevis development In "Early vertebrate development: the egg-to-embryo transition", M.V. Danilchik, F. Pelegri, A. Sutherland, Eds., Springer, NY, In press.

Abstract (PDF)

Resume (PDF)