George H. Neubauer



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Evolutionary changes in organism traits are primarily caused by random genetic mutations in their amino acid codons that end up altering the proteins produced. The main question of researchers is how changes occur that will give a protein a new function without detrimentally affecting the original function of the protein in the organism. Beta 2 tubulin in Drosophila is an ideal model to study this question because it has a very sensitive structure/function relationship. Drosophila contains two main types of tubulin: Beta 1 which is found in the majority of cells and testes specific Beta 2. These proteins differ in only a few amino acids, however Beta 1 is unable to support the function of Beta 2. The proposed continues study of what allows Beta 2 to make a spermtail when Beta 1 cannot. I will investigate a synergistic interaction between amino acids 29, 55, and 57 of the testes specific Beta 2 tubulin protein in Drosophila by exchanging Beta 1 codons with Beta 2 identity at these sites to generate a chimeric Beta 1-Beta 2 tubulin (TGARC). The ability of TGARC to support spermtail axoneme function will be determined through fertility studies, protein expression analysis, sperm tail length comparisons, and axoneme cross sectional comparisons using TEM.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Mark G. Nielsen

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Beta 2 Tubulin Amino Acids Required for Spermtail Axoneme Function