Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Ajay Srivastava (Director), Cheryl Davis, Rodney King

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Soy contains many bioactive molecules known to elicit anti-cancer effects. One such peptide, Lunasin, has been shown to selectively act on newly transformed cells while having no cytotoxic effect on non-tumorigenic or established cancer cell lines. In this study we attempt to understand the developmental effects of Lunasin overexpression in vivo and create reagents that will help us understand Lunasin’s anti tumorigenic effects in an intact organism. cDNA encoding lunasin and EGFP-lunasin were cloned into pUAST and microinjected into Drosophila embryos. Tissue-specific overexpression of EGFP-Lun in the resulting transgenic lines was accomplished by crossing transgenics to various GAL4 driver lines. Progeny were assessed for phenotypic alterations and no phenotypic abnormalities were observed in tissues expressing EGFP-Lunasin, supporting current studies that show Lunasin does not affect normal cells. Previous studies have localized Lunasin to the nuclear compartment. To test if this was the case for EGFP-Lun, subcellular localization of EGFP-Lun was determined via fluorescence microscopy. Salivary glands from EGFP-Lun expressing individuals were dissected, fixed, and mounted in Vectashield® with the nuclear stain, DAPI. Our results demonstrate that EGFP-Lun, like native Lunasin, is localized to the nucleus. Eight transgenic lines were mapped to specific chromosomes and EGFP-Lun transgenic line GEJ1-L2 was balanced in preparation for use in tumor suppression studies. In summary, we have created and characterized transgenic flies capable of overexpressing Lunasin under the control of the GAL4/UAS system. Localization of EGFP-Lunasin to the nucleus and data on the phenotypic consequence of its overexpression in flies is presented. Finally, reagents created as part of this thesis will aid experiments aimed at understanding the effects of Lunasin on benign and invasive tumors.


Biology | Food Chemistry | Genetics | Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry | Natural Products Chemistry and Pharmacognosy