About This Simulation
The Gene Regulation Lab development is based on the Nobel Prize in Physiology 2012 case study. In this lab, students will learn about gene expression regulation and its real life application—for example designing a stem-like cell that is also known as induced Pluripotency Stem (iPS) cells.
Transforming Fibroblasts to induced Pluripotency Stem (iPS) Cells
The premise of the lab is to save a blind child by preparing iPS cells that will then be differentiated to retinal-pigmented epithelial cells for transplantation. First students need to determine which transcription factors are important in maintaining stem-like features. By analyzing differential gene expression between fibroblasts and stem cells, students identify the candidate genes. After identifying these genes, students use a retroviral infection technique to transform mature fibroblasts into iPS cells.
Gene Expression Analysis
After the transformation, students need to confirm that their selected genes are up-regulated in fibroblasts. Students need to check their mRNA transcripts by using RT-PCR and also protein levels using Western blot. The protein level does not always corroborate with the mRNA level, students learn this concept in this lab. The gene expression level can also be regulated by epigenetics, for example promoter methylation. Students investigate the level of methylation using bisulfite sequencing.
After completing the Gene Regulation lab, students will understand standard techniques commonly used to analyze gene expression—RT-PCR and Western blot. Students will also learn about the epigenetic mechanism of gene regulation. More over students explore the exciting science of iPS and its potential use.