Postdoc Rebecca Helm and I are headed to New Orleans tomorrow for the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology. It’s my favorite meeting of the year because the atmosphere is very collegial, and the research spans a huge range of topics and model organisms. I hope to come back with lots of new ideas.
Rebecca will give an oral presentation on Sunday about our work on peroxiredoxin diversity and expression in Nematostella. Peroxiredoxins are an ancient superfamily of antioxidant enzymes. They help organisms to maintain redox balance within their cells, including in response to environmental stressors. Interestingly, some peroxiredoxins have been found to undergo deeply conserved cycles in their own oxidations state. This is thought to reflect an underlying cycle in cellular redox state, something we hope to investigate further within Nematostella. Here is a link to this abstract…Rebecca is hard at work on writing up these results for publication.
Rebecca and I will also be presenting a poster on Friday (link to abstract) about a new area of research in the lab. We are working to develop transgenic Nematostella lines that express a modified fluorescent protein to indicate their intracellular redox state. We are presenting preliminary results in which we have transiently expressed these proteins in developing Nematostella. Our next step will be to develop stable transgenics. These reporter animals will help us to better understand how Nematostella responds to environmental stress, and perhaps will provide insight into circadian cycles in cellular physiology.