Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Biological Science

First Advisor

Nathan Bowen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Leonard Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Cimona Hinton, Ph.D.

Abstract

The field of prostate cancer research is in need of biological markers that predict which cancers do not need treatment, those that can be treated successfully with a localized treatment and more specific cases in which patients are likely to have an aggressive form of cancer that will require more aggressive surgical and chemotherapeutic treatments. ZIC2 is one of five members of a family of proteins that play critical roles in neural crest and mesoderm growth in normal embryonic brain development and in the adult cerebellum of vertebrates. Found throughout the animal kingdom, ZIC1-5 genes encode five distinct ZIC proteins containing five highly conserved C2H2-type zinc finger motifs whose structural integrity is important in carrying out its function as a transcription factor. We hypothesize that ZIC2 has functional significance at the molecular and cellular levels in the initiation of prostate adenocarcinoma (PRAD) and the progression to metastatic and/or castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Bioinformatic predictions suggest that the function of ZIC2 is regulated by post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, ubiquitination and sumoylation. This proposal further outlines the research hypothesis for investigating the role of ZIC2 in prostate cancer progression and the effects of the post-translational modification, ubiquitination, on the loss or gain of function of ZIC2.