Author: Zhao, Xinyin
The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter gene superfamily is a large protein family with diverse physiological functions in different organisms. Recent genome sequencing projects have reported expansion of ABC transporter gene family in parasitic nematodes and hypothesized that such expansion may enable the parasites to become pathogenic or have increased virulence. Some of these reported expansions may reflect the completeness of sequenced genomes, use of bioinformatics programs, and parameters and criteria used in these projects. The goal of this thesis research is to develop a robust bioinformatics pipeline for annotating high-quality ABC transporter genes so that we can reduce the contribution of technical errors. Our comparative analysis of 29 nematode genomes suggests that pathogenic nematodes generally contain fewer ABC transporter genes than non-pathogenic nematodes, suggesting that expansion in ABC superfamily may not be a mechanism for pathogenic nematodes to survive in their host environment. However, many pathogenic nematodes have genome-specific ABC transporter genes.
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Thesis advisor: Chen, Jack
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