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Gene Regulation Virtual Lab

Open your eyes to the vast potential of gene regulation, where you can reprogram cells into any cell that fits your needs. Will you able to help the doctor in restoring the sight of a visually impaired girl?

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Gene Regulation

About this Simulation

In the past, there was no hope for visually impaired people to regain their sight back. Welcome to the future of medicine! In this simulation, you will learn the gene regulation principle that won the Nobel Prize for Physiology 2012. With the gene regulation technique develop by Sir Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, your mission is to try to treat a visually impaired girl.

Learn the basics of stem cells

In order to save the visually impaired girl, you will prepare induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from a fibroblast cells sample taken from the girl. The iPS cells will then be differentiated to retinal-pigmented epithelial cells for transplantation. In this simulation, 3D-animations will allow you to take a closer look at the machinery involved in gene regulation. You will learn about the basics of stem cells and what it takes to create one.

Transform fibroblast cells into iPS cells

You will have to determine which transcription factors are essential in maintaining a stem cell’s features based on what you have learned in the previous mission. After determining the genes, you will use a retroviral infection technique to transform mature fibroblast into iPS cells. After incubation, you will examine which set of transcription factors is capable of inducing the fibroblast into stem cells (iPS).

Analyze gene expression

By now you will have an idea of which transcription factor is capable of transforming fibroblast cells into iPS cells. The next step is to confirm your findings by analyzing the gene expression in mRNA and protein level. You will perform reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and Western blot to investigate the mRNA and protein level, respectively. Finally, you will have to decide which set of transcription factors can be used to transform fibroblast cells into iPS effectively. Will you be able to help the girl?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Explain how gene expression can be regulated

  • Describe the different levels of gene regulation (mRNA and protein)

  • Measure mRNA levels (RT-PCR), protein expression (Western blotting)

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Microscopy
  • Western blotting
  • RT-PCR

Explore:

Gene Regulation

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