Group Members

Miranda Brun
Devon Germain
Darryl Glubrecht
Saket Jain
David Jay
Lei Li
Rong-Zong Liu
Elizabeth Monckton
Kevin Vo
Jack Wang
Xia Xu


Devon Germain, B.Sc.,  PhD Student


Research Project: DEAD box proteins represent a family of poorly understood RNA binding and unwinding proteins that have been implicated in numerous cellular processes. Our lab has identified a DEAD box protein, called DEAD box 1 or DDX1, that is over-expressed in two childhood tumours, retinoblastoma, a tumour of the eye, and neuroblastoma, a tumour of the nervous system. Our goal is to understand how expression of DDX1 affects the growth and progression of both normal and tumour cells.
I currently have two projects addressing the role of DDX1. The first project involves identifying and characterizing the RNA molecules that naturally bind to DDX1 in the cell. I am using two approaches for this project. (1) RNA-DDX1 co-immunoprecipitations using two cell lines: HeLa and retinoblastoma RB522A. Briefly, RNAs bound to DDX1 are co-immunoprecipitated using an antibody to DDX1. The RNAs are released, cDNA is synthesized and cloned into a vector. The cDNAs are then sequenced and identified using DNA and protein databases. (2) RNA immunoprecipitation microchip arrays (RIP-CHIP) which makes use of RNA microchip arrays to identify RNAs bound to immunoprecipitated DDX1. The second project involves using Drosophila as a model system for the study of DDX1 function. The advantage of using Drosophila is that many genetic tools are available to modify DDX1 expression including endogenous conditional knock-down of DDX1 using RNA interference, tissue-specific knock-down of DDX1, generation of transgenic flies over-expressing DDX1 is a tissue-specific manner.

Techniques: confocal microscopy, protein-RNA immunoprecipitation, RIP-CHIP, gel shift, yeast-three-hybrid, Drosophila culture and dissection.


Abstracts/poster presentations:

Germain, D., Li, L., Bleoo, S., Katyal, S. and Godbout, R. The function and localization of DEAD box 1 (DDX1) in retinoblastoma cell lines. Alberta Cancer Research Institute Research Meeting, Banff, Alberta (November 6-8, 2007).

Germain, D., Hughes, S., Simmonds, A. and Godbout, R. Effects of Ddx1 on Drosophila melanogaster development. 4th Canadian Developmental Biology Conference, Banff, Alberta (February 28 March 2, 2008).

Germain, D., Hughes, S., Simmonds, A., Katyal, S. and Godbout, R. Investigating the role of DEAD box protein 1 (DDX1) in retinoblastoma. Alberta Cancer Research Institute Research Meeting, Banff, Alberta (November 25-27, 2008).

Germain, D., Hughes, S., Simmons, A. and Godbout, R. Characterization of the role of DDX1 in Drosophila melanogaster. 2nd Annual Canadian Human Genetics Conference, Harrison Hot Springs, BC (May 24-27, 2009).

Germain, D., Hughes, S., Simmons, A. and Godbout, R. Characterization of the role of DDX1 in Drosophila melanogaster. CANFLY 2009. The 10th Canadian Drosophila Research Conference, Jasper, Alberta (June 1-4, 2009).

Germain, D., Hughes, S., Simmonds, A and Godbout, R. Characterization of the role of DDX1 in Drosophila melanogaster development. 2009 Alberta Cancer Institute Research Meeting, Banff, Alberta (November 24-26, 2009).

Germain, D., Hughes, S., Simmonds, A. and Godbout, R. The Only Good Drosophila is a DEAD (Box1) Drosophila (actually The Only Good Fly is a DEAD Box 1. 5th Canadian Developmental Biology Conference, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (April 8 11, 2010).

Germain, D.R., Graham, K., Glubrecht, D.D., Hughes, S., Simmonds, A., Mackey, J.R. and Godbout, R. DDX1, a novel independent prognostic marker of recurrence in breast cancer. 2010 Alberta Cancer Foundation Research Conference, Banff, Alberta (November 8-10, 2010).

Publications:

Germain, D.R., Graham, K., Glubrecht, D.D., Hugh, J.C., Mackey, J.R. and Godbout, R. DEAD Box 1: A Novel and Independent Prognostic Marker for Early Recurrence in Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. (in press).

Liu, R.-Z., Graham, K., Glubrecht, D.D., Germain, D.R., Mackey, J.R. and Godbout, R. Association of FABP5 expression with poor survival in triple-negative breast cancer: implication for retinoic acid therapy. Am. J. Pathol. (in press).

Awards:

Alberta Cancer Foundation Studentship