Research Mentor(s): Nils Walter, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Chemistry, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 7
Stress granules (SGs) are condensates of RNAs and proteins formed in the cytoplasm of the cell when exposed to acute stress. Though recent studies have concluded that SGs appear to play an important role in tumor progression, gene expression, and neurodegeneration, the exact function of SGs is not completely understood. Furthermore, the dynamics of the mRNAs near the surface of the SGs is an area of active research and may provide important clues about the granules’ function, for example, how they can govern the exchange of materials in the cell. To study the dynamics of the mRNAs near the granules’ boundaries, we developed an algorithm which delineates the boundaries in highly inclined and laminated optical sheet (HILO) microscopy images. The simple but fast and robust algorithm we developed to be used with ImageJ is capable of finding the SGs’ boundaries with diffraction limited accuracy and works even on highly inhomogeneous cell images and for granules of arbitrary shape, size, and internal structure, which is an advancement compared to existing methods. After identifying the mRNA molecules in the same field of view using single molecule microscopy, we will use our approach to compare the mRNAs’ locations and SGs’ boundaries over time to study the dynamics of mRNAs on the SG surface. We are now applying this algorithm to study the dynamics of the mRNAs in the cell in order to better understand the interaction of mRNAs with SGs.