Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Molecular Biology

Reader 1

Suryatapa Jha

Reader 2

Findley Finseth

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© 2024 McKenna D Blinman


Plants, like all multicellular organisms, require efficient and effective communication between their cells to coordinate a variety of functions such as growth, stress responses, defense signaling, and homeostatic transport of nutrients. Unlike animals, plant cells have rigid cell walls with impermeable membranes that do not allow for transmission of cargoes. Instead, cells are connected by plasmodesmata (PD), membrane-lined cytoplasmic channels between cells that allow molecular communication throughout the organism. Small molecules can pass between cells freely or in a controlled manner mediated by various proteins and trafficking signals. Evidence attributes the regulatory abilities of the PD to its specialized collection of proteins. The functions of the proteins localized to the PD reveal information about the regulation of functions of and trafficking through PD. A novel protein, encoded by the gene AT5G54300, has been identified as a plasmodesmal protein. The structure of this protein is particularly interesting due to a region of intrinsic disorder, or IDR. Accepted as functional domains only recently, IDRs are significant stretches of amino acids that do not fold into a secondary or tertiary structure, instead deriving function from their non-specific form. The recent discovery of IDR functionality means there is limited research on their abilities. By beginning the characterization of this novel protein over the course of this thesis, I hope to contribute to gaps in knowledge in both of the overlapping topics, the plasmodesmal proteome and intrinsically disordered proteins.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.