Faculty & Staff

Kenneth C Kleene, PhD

Professor and Director of Biotechnology Program -- Molecular and Developmental Biology



PhD, University of Washington, 1973
BS, University of Wisconsin, 1966

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Research Interests

Spermatogenesis, translational regulation, cancer-testis associated genes, comparative genomics, atypical patterns of gene expression.

Research in my laboratory focuses on two interrelated topics, the mechanisms of translational regulation and the atypical patterns of gene expression in spermatogenic cells in mice. Currently, my lab is engaged in two projects. First, we are using transgenic mice and RNA electrophoretic mobility shift assays to delineate the functions of the 5’ UTR, 3’UTR and RNA-binding proteins in regulating the developmental timing of translation of the sperm-mitochondria cysteine-rich protein mRNA in haploid spermatogenic cells. Translation of this mRNA is regulated by at least four separate mechanisms. Second, we are studying the mechanisms of expression of cancer- testis genes, a huge group of genes that evolved originally to enhance male reproductive success, and is activated abnormally in malignant cells. The theoretical basis both projects is influenced by the idea that differences in the selective pressures on somatic cells and spermatogenic cells, natural selection vs. sexual selection, produce atypical patterns of gene expression in spermatogenic cells. Our work uses comparative genomics of the vast amount of sequence information from mammalian genomes to identify conserved and novel regulatory elements and sequences that exhibit strong positive and negative selection.

Current Grant Support

  • National Science Foundation (2007-2010), MCB-0642128, $450,000. Title: Control of mRNA Translation during Spermatogenesis. 

  • National Science Foundation (2004-2007), BCE-0348497, $381,000.00. Title: Control of mRNA Translation during Spermatogenesis.