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POSTER BIOLOGY
Study of IL2RG protein: tolerance evaluation and homolog species comparison

Frances C. Negrón, Bautista de Levittown School, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Krizia Cabrera, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Ashley González, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Interleukin 2 ReceptorGamma, also know as IL2RG, is a protein coding gene located in chromosome X, locus Xq13.1. The receptor is found in the plasma membrane of the immune cells. This protein works with other receptors in the immune system; and in the synthesis of subtypes of lymphocytes like: T cells, B cell and natural killer cells. Mutations in the gene IL2RG can be related to a health condition that is X-linked SeverCombined Immunedeficiency (SCID), which also affects the IL-2 receptor system. Humans born with SCID have a fault in the protein that constructs a receptor whose job is to establish communication between immune cells: T cells and B cells.  If there is no receptor to warn T cells and B cells about invaders, the body stays defenseless to attack. The purpose of this research was to determine thepercentage of non-tolerance to substitutions using SIFT, and a homolog species comparison of the IL2RG protein. SIFT (Sorting Intolerant From Tolerant) predicts whether an amino acid substitution affects protein function by comparing the biochemical properties of amino acids. SIFT was used to determine the percentage of amino acid substitution tolerance in the IL2RG protein. The MolecularEvolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) version 4.0 is software that compares DNA or protein sequences of homolog species to estimate evolutionary rates using phylogenetic trees. Grantham Distance is a score system used to determine the biochemical distance of an amino acid when a mutation occurs. The percentage of non-tolerance was determined using SIFT, which indicated an 11% of amino acids with zerotolerance to substitution. The mutation R224W resulted with a SIFT of score 0.00 and a Grantham’s Distance of 101. Comparison between species and species’ protein was analyzed using MEGA 4, which suggested that Rattus novergicus and Sus scrofa are the closest in terms of similarity between species; yet in terms of protein, the closest relation can be observed between Homo sapiens and Macaca mulatta. These results may suggest that the amino acids that have zero tolerance to substitutions indicated by SIFT may indeed be conserved sites. Also, the IL2RG protein may have evolved due to the similarity in protein that is not observed in species.

POSTER BIOLOGY

Study of gram-positive Staypholococcus aureus and its divergence to related strains

Christian R. Báez, Bautista de Puerto NuevoAcademy, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Krizia Cabrera, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Ashley González, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Septic Shock is the result of a systemic response to an overwhelming amount of bacteria in the blood stream. There are two known causes for septic shock:Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS-group A) caused by its bacteria, Streptococcus aureus and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSST–group B) caused by its bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. They are differed according to their way of infiltrating the body. The toxin’s sequence was first analyzed using the program Molecular Evolutionary Genetic Analysis (MEGA). This program is primarily used to understand theevolution and adaptation of genes, protein in species. It works in inferring evolutionary relationship of homologous sequences, exploring basic statistical properties of genes and estimating neutral and selective evolutionary divergence among sequences. The features from this program that allowed to build a phylogenetic tree, and compare the original sequence with other strains of the toxin, was used....
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