Department of Zoology

Jack C. Vaughn
Ph.D. University of Texas, 1964
molecular and cellular biology, molecular development, molecular genetics, molecular evolution

294 PSN

241G PSN


Office Hours:
  Monday . . . .
  Tuesday . . . . 4:00 - 5:00
  Wednesday . .
  Thursday. . . . 4:00 - 5:00
  Friday. . . . . . All by appt.

Biographical Information:

Jack Vaughn is a molecular cell biologist and instructor in the new interdisciplinary M.S./PhD Cellular/Molecular/Structural Biology (CMSB) Program. His long-term research is to understand the evolutionarily-conserved cellular, developmental, molecular and genetic mechanisms behind regulation of genes in Drosophila which encode intron splicing factor proteins. His lab is focusing on posttranscriptional processes. Most translational control elements are located in the 5'- and 3'-UTR of eukaryotic mRNAs. His lab has recently discovered a developmentally regulated 5'-UTR element in a Drosophila gene which is alternatively spliced and forms by intron-exon pairing to form a long evolutionarily-conserved stem-loop. This element exists in some isoforms of transcripts arising from the rnp-4f gene, an ortholog to human p110 and yeast Prp24, functioning as an essential factor to carry U4- and U6-snRNPs to the assembling spliceosome. Dr. Vaughn's previous students have utilized RNAi technology to show that this long mRNA isoform is essential for normal development of the central nervous system. Some of Dr. Vaughn's students are currently utilizing molecular techniques to identify and determine the roles of trans-acting protein factors in the regulation of rnp-4f pre-mRNA 5'-UTR alternative intron splicing. They utilize techniques including reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to amplify selected regions from mRNAs, DNA sequencing, RNA electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to identify RNA-binding proteins. Others of Dr. Vaughn's students are currently constructing and utilizing GAL4-UAS transgenic fly lines containing a GFP reporter gene to study the role of 5'-UTR primary and secondary structure in rnp-4f gene expression control. The results are being visualized by confocal microscopy. An additional research interest in Dr. Vaughn's lab is in the role of naturally occurring sense/antisense mRNA transcript pairs in the regulation of gene expression during Drosophila embryogenesis.

Courses Taught:

  1. Introduction to Cell Biology (ZOO 203)
  2. Cell Biology & Human Health (ZOO 400)
  3. Molecular Cell Biology (ZOO 443/543)
  4. Advanced Cell Biology (ZOO 606)
  5. Seminar in Molecular Biology (ZOO 650)

Recent Publications:

  1. Chen, J., Lakshmi, G.G., Hays, D.L., McDowell, K.M., Ma, E. and Vaughn, J.C. 2009. Spatial and temporal expression of dADAR mRNA and protein isoforms during embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. Differentiation 78: 312-320.

  2. Chen, J., Concel, V.J., Bhatla, S., Rajeshwaran, R., Smith, D.L.H., Varadarajan, M., Backscheider, K.L., Bockrath, R.A., Petschek, J.P., and Vaughn, J.C. 2007. Alternative splicing of an rnp-4f isoform retaining an evolutionarily-conserved 5’-UTR intronic element is developmentally regulated and shown via RNAi to be essential for normal central nervous system development in Drosophila melanogster. Gene 399: 91-104.

  3. Fetherson, R.A., Strock, S.B., White, K.N., and Vaughn, J.C. 2006. Alternative pre-mRNA splicing in Drosophila spliceosomal assembly factor rnp-4f during development. Gene 371: 234-245

  4. Peters, N.T., Rohrbach, J.A., Zalewski, B.A., and Vaughn, J.C. 2004. RNA editing and regulation of Drosophila rnp-4f expression by sas-10 antisense readthrough mRNA transcripts. RNA 9: 698-710.

  5. Feiber, A., Rangarajan, J., and Vaughn, J.C. 2002. The evolution of single-copy Drosophila nuclear rnp-4f: Spliceosomal intron losses create polymorphic alleles. J. Molecular Evolution 55: 401-413.