The PS1 gene is expressed throughout the bodies of all mammals. The complete loss of the PS1 gene in laboratory mice causes a lethal condition in mouse embryos. However, specialized mouse strains that have been engineered to express the human PS1 in the central nervous system, but not elsewhere, can survive. Dr. Zheng has found that these mice develop epidermal hyperplasia and neoplasm, or skin cancer, and that the skin cancer phenotype is similar to that found for transgenic mice that exhibit overactivity in the molecule Beta-Catenin. Dr. Zheng has proposed that this molecule interacts with PS1 and plays a role in cell signaling. In this study, she is attempting to determine the molecular mechanisms of PS1 in the growth of tumors. Then the discovery will be utilized to generate specific mutations in PS1 to further examine its interaction with Beta-Catenin. Because this technique allows the survival of mice whose expression of PS1 has been inhibited, it is hoped that a better understanding of the role of PS-1 in adult tissues will be attained.
First published on: June 10, 2008
Last modified on: June 11, 2008