Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences


Laura A. Diaz-Martinez

Second Advisor

Siddhartha Das


The zinc finger protein 16 (ZNF16) has been reported to be involved in megakaryocytic and erythroid differentiation. However, ZNF16 has ubiquitous expression throughout the body thus suggesting that it might have functions outside of these blood cell lineages. Here we show that ZNF16 is expressed in different tumor and non-tumor cell lines, consistent with the hypoThesis of a more widespread role. Endogenous ZNF16 localizes to the nucleus and is enriched in the nucleolus. Interestingly, exogenous ZNF16 showed two patterns of localization depending on the tag used. EGFP-ZNF16 showed nuclear localization while 3xEGFP-ZNF16 was mainly localized to the nucleoli and other subnuclear structures. Given that endogenous ZNF16 localizes to both the nucleus and the nucleolus, the difference in localization of tagged ZNF16 likely is the result of preferential localization depending on the tag used. Based on its enrichment at the nucleolus, we tested for a role of ZNF16 in rRNA transcription and nucleolar stress. Results show that overexpression of ZNF16 targeted to the nucleolus results in increased rDNA transcription and that ZNF16 delocalizes from the nucleolus in conditions of nucleolar stress. These results indicate that ZNF16 is involved in rRNA synThesis. Lastly, we sought to test for a potential role for ZNF16 in the response to DNA damage. Our results show a potential yet minor involvement for ZNF16 in this process that depends on the cell line and type of DNA damage used. Together, these results reveal potential roles for ZNF16 in basic cellular processes, consistent with its ubiquitous expression in human tissues. Further characterization at the cellular and molecular level will offer insight on the function of this poorly characterized gene.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

61 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Chelsea L George

Included in

Biology Commons