I imagined that sewing DNA would be the most complicated part about my research project…however, there is so much more to discovering the physiological role of the gene spd_1451 in Streptococcus pneumoniae! Previously, I shared that I had successfully fabricated the DNA fragments that would be inserted into the cells’ genome. Since then, I have been working on the actual transformation of the mutant cells and have analyzed their growth under stressed and limited manganese concentrations. I performed my first western blot to detect the expression of the protein. I came to find out that the western didn’t detect the right protein as the results I yielded were the detection of a much bigger protein than the one I am investigating. I am now working on troubleshooting this experiment. It could be that I detected the gene upstream from spd_1451 and the primers I used may not have been effective in binding to the right places. This is a possibility because the two genes overlap a little. Whatever it may be, I am confident that we will find answers to why it was ineffective.
With one week left in lab for the summer, I am feeling nostalgic about having to leave it. This internship has been such an amazing experience! So, while there are still many unanswered questions about my project, I know that this mystery won’t be left unsolved. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned this summer is that science is very community-based, and there will always be someone else who is formulating the same hypothesis.