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Publication Date


First Advisor

Steven A. Williams

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biological Sciences


Neglected tropical diseases, Lymphatic filariasis, Gene regulation, Parasitic nematodes, Brugia malayi, Transcription factor and promoter interaction, Binding analysis


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are diseases primarily afflicting individuals living in developing countries. One of the most damaging NTDs is lymphatic filariasis (LF), a disease caused by parasitic nematodes (Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, and Wucheria Bancrofti) resulting in the development of elephantiasis and other clinical manifestations. Though current efforts to combat LF have met with some success, the rise of resistance to commonly used antihelmintics indicates the need to develop new therapies. Gene expression in filarial parasites undergoes dramatic changes when the parasite is transmitted from mosquito vectors to human hosts, suggesting the possible use of transcription factors as drug targets. However, despite this critical need, little is known about promoters and transcription factors in filarial parasites. The aim of this study is to identify transcription factors in B. malayi that could serve as potential drug targets for combating filariasis. Previously, a comparative analysis between the protein sequence datasets of B. malayi and C. elegans identified a putative transcription factor, Bma-UNC- 86 and its cognate promoter mec-3. Through an electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), the specific binding of the UNC-86 protein to the mec-3 promoter was confirmed. This allowed us to begin to use chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-Seq) to investigate other binding locations of the UNC-86 protein in the B. malayi genome. This will further understanding of gene regulation in filarial parasites, and will identify a pool of potential parasite drug targets to combat parasitic nematodes.


2020 McKayla Elizabeth Ford. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




114 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color map. Includes bibliographical references (pages 110-114)