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Gary Kunkel

Kunkel, Gary
Gary Kunkel
Associate Professor
BioBio / Room 406A
Undergraduate Education
B.S. University of California, Davis (1975)
Graduate Education
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles (1981)
Postdoc. Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research (1982-88)
Joined Texas A&M in 1989

Activation of Transcription at Vertebrate Gene Promoters

An important step to control the amount of RNA or protein in particular types of cells is at the level of transcription of genes. Our lab studies a multifunctional vertebrate transcriptional activator protein known as SBF/Staf/ZNF143. This protein binds to SPH sites within promoters of many genes that produce small stable RNAs (e.g., snRNAs and others) PLUS probably over 2000 promoters of genes that produce mRNAs. Two separate activation domains in this protein direct its action at small RNA vs. mRNA gene promoters. We are using zebrafish as a vertebrate model organism to study the roles of SBF/Staf during development. In vivo studies are coupled with biochemical and molecular biology methods to decipher the mechanisms by which this protein stimulates transcription of various types of genes.

Recent Publications

  1. Huning, L, Kunkel, GR. Two paralogous znf143 genes in zebrafish encode transcriptional activator proteins with similar functions but expressed at different levels during early development. BMC Mol Cell Biol. 2020;21 (1):3.
    doi: 10.1186/s12860-020-0247-7. PubMed PMID:31969120. PubMed Central PMC6977252.

  2. Kunkel, GR, Tracy, JA, Jalufka, FL, Lekven, AC. CHD8short, a naturally-occurring truncated form of a chromatin remodeler lacking the helicase domain, is a potent transcriptional coregulator. Gene. 2018;641 :303-309.
    doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2017.10.058. PubMed PMID:29079199. .

  3. Gott, RC, Kunkel, GR, Zobel, ES, Lovett, BR, Hawthorne, DJ. Implicating ABC Transporters in Insecticide Resistance: Research Strategies and a Decision Framework. J. Econ. Entomol. 2017;110 (2):667-677.
    doi: 10.1093/jee/tox041. PubMed PMID:28334260. .

  4. Halbig, KM, Lekven, AC, Kunkel, GR. The transcriptional activator ZNF143 is essential for normal development in zebrafish. BMC Mol. Biol. 2012;13 :3.
    doi: 10.1186/1471-2199-13-3. PubMed PMID:22268977. PubMed Central PMC3282657.

  5. Hernández-Negrete, I, Sala-Newby, GB, Perl, A, Kunkel, GR, Newby, AC, Bond, M et al.. Adhesion-dependent Skp2 transcription requires selenocysteine tRNA gene transcription-activating factor (STAF). Biochem. J. 2011;436 (1):133-43.
    doi: 10.1042/BJ20101798. PubMed PMID:21352097. PubMed Central PMC3105252.

  6. Curran, K, Lister, JA, Kunkel, GR, Prendergast, A, Parichy, DM, Raible, DW et al.. Interplay between Foxd3 and Mitf regulates cell fate plasticity in the zebrafish neural crest. Dev. Biol. 2010;344 (1):107-18.
    doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.04.023. PubMed PMID:20460180. PubMed Central PMC2909359.

  7. Halbig, KM, Lekven, AC, Kunkel, GR. Zebrafish U6 small nuclear RNA gene promoters contain a SPH element in an unusual location. Gene. 2008;421 (1-2):89-94.
    doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2008.06.019. PubMed PMID:18619527. .

  8. Barski, OA, Papusha, VZ, Kunkel, GR, Gabbay, KH. Regulation of aldehyde reductase expression by STAF and CHOP. Genomics. 2004;83 (1):119-29.
    doi: 10.1016/s0888-7543(03)00213-1. PubMed PMID:14667815. .

  9. Domitrovich, AM, Kunkel, GR. Multiple, dispersed human U6 small nuclear RNA genes with varied transcriptional efficiencies. Nucleic Acids Res. 2003;31 (9):2344-52.
    doi: 10.1093/nar/gkg331. PubMed PMID:12711679. PubMed Central PMC154217.

  10. Mach, CM, Hargrove, BW, Kunkel, GR. The Small RNA gene activator protein, SphI postoctamer homology-binding factor/selenocysteine tRNA gene transcription activating factor, stimulates transcription of the human interferon regulatory factor-3 gene. J. Biol. Chem. 2002;277 (7):4853-8.
    doi: 10.1074/jbc.M108308200. PubMed PMID:11724783. .

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