A Resource Center for Tetrahymena Thermophila

Principal Investigator: Theodore Clark

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Sponsor: NIH-Office of the Director (OD)
Grant Number: 5P40OD010964-17
Title: A Resource Center for Tetrahymena Thermophila
Project Amount: $346,618
Project Period: April 2021 to March 2022

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

This proposal seeks continued funding for the Tetrahymena Stock Center in order to maintain its current operations, expand its capabilities and ensure its sustainability as a resource for the community at-large. A key model for eukaryotic cell and molecular biology, Tetrahymena thermophila has been instrumental to our understanding of a wide range of biological phenomena with direct relevance to human health and disease including cancer, infertility, aging, respiratory and neuroendocrine dysfunction. Tetrahymena has also shown great promise as a platform for the production of recombinant proteins, including vaccine antigens and difficultto-express human ion channels, and serves as a useful teaching tool in K12 and undergraduate classrooms. Specifically, our aims for the Resource are to 1) continue to act as a strain repository accepting new strains and making live cultures of T. thermophila available to interested users at reasonable cost; 2) complete the annotation of archival strains currently housed at the Center and acquire next-generation cloning vectors for micro- and macronuclear genome-editing; 3) offer expanded services and develop innovative marketing approaches to increase revenues. Additionally, to ensure insure long-term stability of the resource we plan to 4) relocate the repository from Cornell University to Washington University in St. Louis; 5) migrate all data from the legacy Tetrahymena Genome Database (TGD) schema to CHADO and transfer its web-hosting functions from Bradley University to the NSF-funded National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS) at Indiana University; and, 6) redesign the TGD website to display relevant data via the Tripal framework. Our additional Research aims are to: 7) develop genetic strains lacking a functional ribosomal DNA locus to enable selection-free creation of new cell lines; and, 8) develop CRISPR-mediated genome editing tools to enhance the overall utility of the Tetrahymena platform.