Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Science: Medical Microbiology

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Victoria Jeffers

Second Advisor

Krista Fleck


Toxoplasma gondii is a highly prevalent protozoan parasite that is estimated to infect 30-50% of the global population, though there is no treatment for chronic infection and current treatments for acute infection may have serious side effects. Transcription is a tightly regulated process in T. gondii, allowing the parasite to successfully invade and replicate within host cells, and it is thus a promising avenue to study gene regulation and to investigate possible novel therapeutics. In our lab’s previous research, a TFIID-like complex was identified in T. gondii and found to be associated with the parasite specific bromodomain protein BDP3. In all eukaryotes, the TFIID complex is composed of TAF proteins and is a highly conserved general transcription factor that has yet to be well characterized T. gondii. By comparing protein sequences and domain composition between predicted T. gondii TAF proteins and other eukaryotic organisms, I identified two proteins that are most likely to be core components of this TFIID-like complex, TgTAF5 and TgTAF6. Ongoing experiments to epitope tag TgTAF6 will allow localization and proteomic analysis of TgTAF6 interactors to determine the composition of possible TFIID complex variants in T. gondii.