Non-ionizing electromagnetic field impact on ATR expression in Tetrahymena thermophila
In our experiment, we looked to see how exposure to extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields (ELF-EMF) would impact the expression of a gene involved sensing DNA damage and arresting the cell cycle in Tetrahymena thermophila. It has been shown in prior research that exposure to ELF-EMF can cause double-stranded DNA breaks and oxidative stress in the cell. We will be examining the ATR gene, which encodes for a serine-threonine kinase that activates when stalled replication forks caused by DNA damage are detected. ATR initiates a pathway that causes cell cycle arrest which allows for DNA repair or apoptosis if repair is unsuccessful. Control and experimental groups were grown in culture flasks placed inside of a solenoid. While the control group’s solenoid is turned off, the experimental culture’s solenoid was connected to a frequency generator creating a 60 gauss magnetic field passing through the cultures. We will measure the levels of ATR RNA in both groups using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RTq-PCR) along with conjugation assay to observe reproduction behavior after ELF-EMF exposure. For our experiment, it was hypothesized that exposure of the experimental Tetrahymena thermophila cultures to ELF-EMF will cause an increase in ATR transcription compared to our control group. We also hypothesized that there will be less conjugation taking place in our experimental cultures after exposure to ELF-EMF.