Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Andrew Hubberstey


actin binding proteins, actin cytoskeleton, cell migration, F/G actin ratio, mutations




WDR1 is a highly conserved regulator of the actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotes. A novel splice variant of WDR1 has been discovered, WDRΔ35, which lacks exons 3-5. To determine if functional differences exist between these two isoforms and whether perturbation of WDR1/WDRΔ35 levels affects the rate of cell migration, they were overexpressed as GFP fusion proteins in HEK293 cells and the rates of cell migration were quantified. Overexpression of WDR1/WDRΔ35 caused a significant decrease in cell migration compared to the GFP control. The ratio of G/F-actin was measured upon WDR1/WDRΔ35 overexpression and it was found to be significantly higher for GFP-WDR/ WDRΔ35 transfected cells compared to GFP alone which may indicate higher actin turnover rates in these cells. Site directed mutagenesis generated several mutants for WDR1/ WDRΔ35 which indicated that specific residues (e.g. WDRR17G, WDRΔ35H48Q and WDRΔ35G204E) could alter the ratio of G/F-actin in cells, suggesting an important structural role in WDR1 function.