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Type: Thesis
Title: Genes: Multigene Families, Control of Gene Expression, Genetic contributions to Human Diseases, including Chromosomal Fragile Sites and ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Non-self’ Mutations
Author: Richards, Robert Ian
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Biological Sciences
Abstract: The early work in this thesis utilizes the general approach of comparative analysis. In order to find out the relationship between entities (either functional or genetic) my colleagues and I have attempted to identify the important elements by detecting similarity between those entities that act in a similar manner. The philosophy behind this approach is simply that when two distinct objects perform a similar process then the requirements essential for that process will be revealed as similarities between those objects above a noise of difference between them. The use of comparative analysis in biological systems is an attempt to identify natural order from apparent chaos. This work includes but is not limited to :- 1. discovery of the family of kallikrein genes and exploration of their roles in biology, 2. identification of the DNA sequence elements required for hormonal and heavy metal control of metallothionein gene expression 3. discovery of at least some of the necessary and sufficient conditions for the appearance of fragile sites on chromosomes, and their consequent contributions to disease, 4. the molecular properties of repeat DNA sequence expansion that lead to dynamic mutation and consequent fragile site expression and / or disease pathogenesis. In a sense the use of genetic animal models in order to study gene function and pathogenesis follows similar logic of comparative analysis – the mutation of a single endogenous gene or the expression of a single introduced mutated gene in a (presumed) constant genetic background to enable the biological consequences of the genetic mutation or aberrant gene expression by comparing animals from the ‘wild-type’ or parent line with those that now carry the mutation or altered gene. This approach has been utilized in the most recent work contained herein as a means to determine gene function and / or to model human genetic disease pathogenesis, specifically pathogenic mechanisms of the protein WWOX in cancer and expanded repeat RNAs in neurodegenerative diseases. The culmination of this recent work is the development of an hypothesis – 4. that expanded repeat double-stranded RNA leads to neurodegeneration through its recognition by the RNA-binding pattern recognition receptors as a ‘non-self’ or foreign nucleic acid due to a paucity of RNA modification. The resultant pathogenic mechanism is therefore autoinflammatory disease. Given the wide range and variety of evidence of inflammatory activation in neurodegenerative diseases in general, this mechanism is therefore hypothesized to be the general causal mechanism for most (or all) of these diseases. A specific Introduction - highlighting the nature and significance of the work, and a Conclusion – of how this work has contributed to knowledge, are given at the start of each chapter, while the impact of the various components of this work is indicated by the number of citations for each of the included publications. Authorship contributions to each of the included publications in this work are also indicated with each specific reference.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (DSc) -- University of Adelaide, School of Biological Sciences, 2020
Keywords: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum
ATP-binding cassette proteins
Gene conversion
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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