Author (Your Name)

Kathie L. Pooler, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Chemistry Dept.


Julie T. Millard

Second Advisor

Holly Carmichael


Volvox carteri, a multi-celled green algae, can grow synchronously given a sixteen hour light period followed by an eight hour dark period, a cycle which is repeated for a 48 hour growth cycle total. Near the end of each light period, reproductive cells divide rapidly resulting in the differentiation of ceIls. When the dark period begins, this differentiation stops and the cells remain dormant with little protein synthesis or differentiation occurring. Immediately after the lights come back on, however, the cells again undergo rapid protein synthesis and complete their differentiation. Previous studies have concluded that Volvox carteri discontinue protein synthesis during the dark phase due to regulation at the translational level and not the transcriptional level. Therefore, the inhibition of protein synthesis does not lie in the transfer of the protein coding sequence from DNA to mRNA, but rather in the transfer of this information from the mRNA to the ribosomes. My research examined this translational regulation to determine the factor(s) causing the discontinuation of protein synthesis during the dark phase. Evidence from other research further suggests that the control of translation lies in the initiation step rather than the elongation step. Eukaryotic initiation factors aid in the binding of the ribosomal subunits to the mRNA to initiate protein synthesis. It is known that initiation factors can be modified by phosphorylation, regulating their activity. Therefore, my study focused upon isolating some of these initiation factors in order to determine whether or not such modifications are responsible for the inhibition of dark phase protein synthesis in Volvox carteri.


Volvox, Proteins -- Synthesis

Included in

Chemistry Commons