Andrea Duina, Ph.D

 duina 
2004 - Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D, Northwestern University '98
B.S., University of Illinois-Champaign '92

DW Reynolds Room 422
Research Lab - DW Reynolds Room 423
501-450-4536
Fax 501-450-4547

Email: duina@hendrix.edu    

Courses Taught

BIOL 101 - Concepts in Biology
BIOL 150 - Cell Biology
BIOL 250 - Genetics
BIOL 450 - Advanced Cell Biology
BIOL 470 - Advanced Genetics 
BCMB 497 - Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Senior Seminar

Academic and Professional Background

Postdoctoral Fellow in Genetics - Harvard Medical School
Ph.D in Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Molecular Biology - Northwestern University
B.S. in Biology - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate genes in living cells. Genes are units of DNA that contain the information required to produce proteins, which in turn are responsible for most of the structural and functional properties of organisms. Whereas the vast majority of cells in our bodies contain identical DNA molecules, these cells can have dramatically different physical and biological characteristics. This diversity is achieved by an individual cell's ability to turn on or off the various genes required for particular functions. For example, the set of genes activated in skin cells is distinct from that activated in the cells of the eye. Thus, these tissues look and behave differently from each other because they contain different kinds of proteins. Research into how genes are controlled is necessary not only to increase our knowledge of basic cellular processes, but also to advance our understanding of human diseases.

The NucleosomeThe first step in utilizing genetic information for protein synthesis is the production of RNA molecules. The process of making RNA from DNA, referred to as transcription, has been the subject of intense research over the past several decades. In my laboratory, we are particularly interested in the proteins that package DNA to create chromosomes, as well as the proteins that modify this packaging to ensure proper gene transcription. For our studies, we use the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system. Yeast is an excellent experimental organism for several reasons, including the fact that it is highly amenable to a variety of genetic and molecular approaches. Given the remarkable evolutionary conservation between the basic molecular mechanisms that occur in yeast and in human cells, our research is also likely to further our knowledge of basic aspects of human cell biology.

(The above figure of the nucleosome is taken from Duina and Winston, 2004 and kindly provided by Cindy L. White and Karolin Luger.)

Our previous studies have focused on the nucleosome, the basic repeating unit of chromosomes. The nucleosome is a disc-like structure composed of a short stretch of DNA wrapped around two sets of four proteins known as histones. Our experiments have identified a novel mutation in one of the histones, histone H3, that impairs normal transcriptional control. This mutant H3, hht2-11, encodes a single amino acid substitution at position 61, converting a leucine into a tryptophan (H3-L61W). Using a combination of different experimental approaches, we have demonstrated that this mutation affects the ability of chromosomes to interact with Swi/Snf, a conserved protein complex that controls transcription by modulating chromosome structure. Furthermore, we have isolated and analyzed additional mutations that suppress hht2-11. These include new alleles of the SPT16 gene, which encodes an essential and highly conserved protein factor that is involved in transcriptional elongation. Like Swi/Snf, wild-type Spt16 interacts with nucleosomes, and this association is impaired by the H3-L61W mutation.

These results support the view that chromosome structure can have profound effects on transcription, a picture that has also emerged from the work of many in the field. Furthermore, these findings indicate that our experimental strategy provides a powerful and productive system. As such, current research projects in my laboratory are using this approach to gain further insight into the dynamic relationship between chromosomes and transcription.

Scientific Publications

  • A.A. Duina.  2011.  Histone Chaperones Spt6 and FACT:  similarities and differences in modes of actions at transcribed genes. Genet. Res. Int. (Special issue: Gene Control During Transcription Regulation), 2011, Article ID 625210.
  • Myers C.N., Berner G.B., Holthoff J.H., Martinez-Fonts K., Harper J.A., Alford S., Taylor M.N., and A.A. Duina.  2011.  Mutant Versions of the S. cerevisiae transcription elongation factor Spt16 define regions of Spt16 that functionally interact with histone H3.  PLoS ONE 6, e20847.
  • Lloyd, A, K. Pratt, E. Siebrasse, M.D. Moran and A.A. Duina. 2009. Uncoupling of the patterns of chromatin association of different transcription elongation factors by a histone H3 mutant in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Eukaryot. Cell 8, 257-260.
  • Duina, A.A., A. Rufiange, J. Bracey, J. Hall, A. Nourani and F. Winston. 2007. Evidence that the localization of the elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics 177, 101-112.
  • Duina, A.A. and F. Winston. 2004. Analysis of a mutant histone H3 that perturbs the association of Swi/Snf with chromatin. Mol. Cell. Biol. 24, 561-572.
  • Duina, A.A., H.M. Kalton, and R.F. Gaber. 1998. Requirement for Hsp90 and a CyP-40-type cyclophilin in negative regulation of the heat shock response. J. Biol. Chem. 273,18974-18978.
  • Duina, A.A., J.A. Marsh, R.B. Kurtz, J.H.-C. Chang, S. Lindquist, and R.F. Gaber. 1998. The peptidyl-prolyl isomerase domain of the CyP-40 cyclophilin homolog Cpr7 is not required to support growth or glucocorticoid receptor activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J. Biol. Chem. 273, 10819-10822.
  • Duina, A.A., J.H.-C. Chang, J.A. Marsh, S. Lindquist, and R.F. Gaber. 1996. A cyclophilin function in Hsp90-dependent signal transduction. Science 274, 1713-1715.
  • Duina, A.A., J.A. Marsh, and R.F. Gaber. 1996. Identification of two CyP-40-like cyclophilins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of which is required for normal growth. Yeast 12, 943-952.

Other Publications

  • Duina, A.A. 2007. Listen to your calling. ASBMB Today (February 2007), 19-20.

Recent Research Grants

  • National Science Foundation, RUI Continuing Grant (2009-2012): "Investigation of the mechanisms that regulate interactions between the transcription elongation factor Spt16 and chromatin"
  • National Science Foundation, RUI Continuing Grant (2006-2010): "Analysis of the role of histone H3 in transcription elongation"

Recent Scientific Conferences

Organizer or Chair of Platform Session

  • Platform Session Chair: 18th Annual Southeastern Regional Yeast Meeting.  Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.  March 11-13, 2011.
  • Co-organizer:  17th Annual Southeastern Regional Yeast Meeting.  William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, AR.  March 12-14, 2010. 

Participated

  • Identification of a nucleosomal region required for the proper distribution of the transcription elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nguyen T.H., Wharton II W., Harper J.H., Dornhoffer J. and A.A.Duina.  Enhancing Biological Science Research Opportunities at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs): Advancing Discovery While Training the Next Generation of Scientists.  California State University - Fullerton, Fullerton, CA.  July 26-28, 2012.  (Poster Presentation - Invited Attendee).
  • Central Arkansas Undergraduate Research Symposium 2012 - 1st Annual Meeting, William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, AR.  July 25, 2012. (Attended). 
  • Identification of a nucleosomal region required for the proper distribution of the transcription elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Duina A.A., Nguyen T.H., Wharton II W., and J.A. Harper.  2012 ASBMB Annual Meeting, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.  April 21-25, 2012.  (Platform and Poster Presentations).
  • 19th Annual Southeastern Regional Yeast Meeting, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, February 24-26, 2012 (Attended).
  • Novel mutant versions of the transcription elongation factor Spt16 define regions of Spt16 that functionally interact with histone H3.  Martinez-Fonts K.,  Holthoff H., Mehta H., Berner G., Neis J., Swindle K. and A.A. Duina.  17th Annual Southeastern Regional Yeast Meeting.  William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, AR.  March 12-14, 2010.  (Poster Presentation). 
  • Uncoupling of the patterns of chromatin association of different transcription elongation factors by a histone H3 mutant in yeast. Lloyd A, Pratt K., Siebrasse E, Moran M.D. and A.A. Duina. Fall 2008 INBRE Undergraduate Research Conference, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. November 7-8, 2008. (Poster Presentation)
  • 2008 Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Meeting, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. July 22-27, 2008. (Attended)
  • Evidence that the localization of the elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity in yeast. Duina A.A., A. Rufiange, J. Bracey, J. Hall, A. Nourani and F. Winston. Fall 2007 INBRE Undergraduate Research Conference, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. November 9-10, 2007. (Poster Presentation)
  • Evidence that the localization of the elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity in yeast. Duina A.A., J. Bracey, J. Hall, and F. Winston. Transcription Regulation by Chromatin and RNA Polymerase II, Kiawah Island, SC. November 2-5, 2006. (Poster Presentation).
  • Analysis of a histone H3 mutant that affects the distribution of the elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes. Duina A.A. and J. Bracey. Southeastern Regional Yeast Meeting, Hattiesburg, MS. April 1-2, 2006. (Platform presentation).
  • Characterization of transcriptional elongation defects conferred by a histone H3 mutant. Duina A.A., BRIN Research Mentoring Program, Little Rock, AR. July 22, 2005 (Platform Presentation).
  • Evidence that the distribution of the elongation factor Spt16 over transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity. Duina A.A. and F. Winston. Southeastern Regional Yeast Meeting, Atlanta, GA. March 2005 (Platform Presentation).
  • Evidence that the distribution of the elongation factor Spt16 over transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity in yeast. Duina A.A. and F. Winston. The Arkansas Academy of Science, 89th Annual Meeting, Conway, AR. April 2005 (Platform Presentation).

Invited Seminars

  • Emory University School of Medicine - Department of Biochemistry, February 23, 2012.  Analysis of yeast cells expressing specific histone mutants provide new insights into the process of transcription elongation.
  • Louisiana State University Health Science Center, School of Medicine in Shreveport – Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, January 20, 2011. Insights into the process of transcription elongation through the analysis of histone mutants in yeast.

  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock – Department of Applied Sciences, November 15, 2010.  Insights into the process of transcription elongation through the analysis of histone mutants in yeast.

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, September 15, 2010. New insights into the process of transcription elongation in yeast.

  • University of Iowa – Department of Biochemistry, December 11, 2008.  Insights into the mechanism of yFACT association across transcribed genes in vivo.

  • University of Central Arkansas – Department of Biology, February 18, 2008.  A role for histone H3 in ensuring proper distribution of the elongation complex yFACT across transcribed genes.

  • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville – Department of Biology, November 8, 2007. A role for histone H3 in ensuring proper distribution of the elongation complex yFACT across transcribed genes.

  • Rhodes College – Department of Biology, November 13, 2006. A dysfunctional relationship: when a transcription factor just can’t let go. 

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 6th Annual Career Day for Biomedical Sciences, November 2, 2006. Academia. 

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Department of Physiology, September, 2005. Evidence that the localization of the elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity in yeast.

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, September 2004. Insights into transcriptional regulation through the analysis of a novel histone mutant in yeast

Current Members of the Lab

  • Jimmy Dornhoffer (Undergraduate Student)
  • Harrison Lindley (Undergraduate Student)
  •  Eugene Nyamugenda (Undergraduate Student)
  • Sarah Marshall (Laboratory Technician) 

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