The use of genetic mutations to study protein functions in vivo is a central paradigm of modern biology. Recent advances in reverse genetics such as RNA interference and morpholinos are widely used to further apply this paradigm. Nevertheless, such systems act upstream of the proteic level, and protein depletion depends on the turnover rate of the existing target proteins. Here we present deGradFP, a genetically encoded method for direct and fast depletion of target green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions in any eukaryotic genetic system. This method is universal because it relies on an evolutionarily highly conserved eukaryotic function, the ubiquitin pathway. It is traceable, because the GFP tag can be used to monitor the protein knockout. In many cases, it is a ready-to-use solution, as GFP protein-trap stock collections are being generated in Drosophila melanogaster and in Danio rerio.
My research is on chromosome structure and function. For many years it was called cytogenetics, but nowadays the name has been changed so much that I don’t know how I should call it (laugh!), chromosome biology, cytogenomics, anything else. We focus on how chromosomes works during the cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis division, as well as studying their number, morphology, comparing different species – comparative genomics. This information is important for plant breeding which produces our food.
As I am in a tropical region with tremendous biodiversity, we need to help other researchers to characterize the karyotype (chromosome number and morphology) of different species. I have been working with sugarcane, alfalfa, maize (corn), cotton, eucalyptus, crotalaria and several other species.
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