Jeff De Jong

Jeff De Jong

Associate Professor - Biological Sciences
Tags: Molecular Biology Cell Biology Biology

Professional Preparation

Post-doc - Molecular Biology
Rockefeller University - 1995
Ph.D. - Biochemistry
Pennsylvania State University - 1990
B.A. - Biology
University of Missouri-Columbia - 1984

Research Areas

Research Interests
 Regulation of genes in eukaryotic organisms involves the coordinated assembly and function of a complex array of proteins at promoter DNA.  The proteins required include RNA polymerase II and a set of associated ‘basal’ factors such as TFIIA and TFIID, as well as histones and an array of histone modifier/coactivator complexes.  In higher eukaryotes the individual subunits that make up this machinery are in some cases encoded by multiple genes.  In situations where this is seen, one version of the gene is typically expressed and used in somatic tissues while the other version is expressed solely in germ line tissues. Studies in this laboratory were among the first to demonstrate the rather surprising separation of transcription factor systems into somatic and germ cell categories, and our work has focused on characterizing the composition, regulation, and function of these systems.  The use of special non-somatic transcription factors for regulation of the germ cell genome may be connected to phenomena such as the use of alternate transcription start sites and the expression of germ cell-specific noncoding RNAs, perhaps including piRNAs .  This puzzle of germ cell transcription factor replacement is not entirely explained,  but is likely necessary for the germ cell to accomplish two essential goals:  preparation of a functional haploid DNA genome capable of fertilization and, after fertilization, setting up a transition back to somatic/early embryonic gene expression.   


Li, D., Raza, A., and DeJong, J.  (2009)  Regulation of ALF Promoter Activity in Xenopus Oocytes.  PLoS ONE  4: e6664.   2009 - publications
Kim, M.J., Patel, B., Schroeder, K.E., Raza, A., and DeJong, J.  (2008)  Organization and transcriptional output of a novel mRNA-like piRNA gene (mpiR) located on mouse chromosome 10.  RNA  14:  1005-1011. 2008 - Publication
Kim, M.J., Li, D., Cui, Y., Mueller, K., Chears, W.C., and DeJong J.  (2006) Regulatory factor interactions and somatic silencing of the germ cell-specific ALF gene. J. Biol. Chem. 281: 34288-34298. 2006 - Publication
Xiao, L.J., Kim, M.J., and DeJong, J.  (2006)  Developmental and cell type-specific regulation of core promoter transcription factors in germ cells of frogs and mice.  Gene Expression Patterns  6:  409-419. 2006 - Publication
DeJong, J.  (2006) Basic mechanisms for the control of germ cell gene expression. Gene. 366: 39-50. 2006 - Publication
Han, S.Y., Xie, W., Kim, S.H., Yue, L., and DeJong, J.  (2004)  A short core promoter drives expression of the ALF transcription factor in reproductive tissues of male and female mice.  Biol. Reprod.  71:  933-941.   2004 - Publication
Han, S.Y., Xie, W., Hammes, S.R., and DeJong, J.  (2003)  Expression of the germ cell-specific transcription factor ALF in Xenopus oocytes compensates for translational inactivation of the somatic factor TFIIA.   J. Biol. Chem.   278:  45586-45593. 2003 - Publication
Upadhyaya, A., Khan, M., Mou, T.-C., Junker, M., Gray, D.M., and DeJong, J. (2002) The germ cell-specific transcription factor ALF: Structural properties and stabilization of TBP-DNA complexes. J. Biol. Chem. 277: 34208-34216. 2002 - Publication


Associate Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2001–Present]
Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [1995–2001]
Postdoctoral Associate
The Rockefeller University [1990–1995]
Ph.D. Student/Teaching Assistant
Pennsylvania State University [1984–1990]


Synergistic Activities
Courses Taught
Biology 3362    Biochemistry II
Biology 3301    Genetics
Biology 6331    Molecular Genetics
Biology 6353    Modern Biochemistry II


Ph.D. Students and Postdoctoral
 Ph.D. Students (past)
SangHyun Lee
Ashok Upadhyaya
SangYoon Han 
MinJung Kim
Dan Li

Postdocs (past)
Dr. Xiao-li Wang 
Dr. Wensheng Xie 
Graduate and Postdoctoral Advisors
Dr. Chen-Pei David Tu (graduate) 
Dr. Robert G. Roeder (post-doc)