Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2012

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Katharine Lewis, Associate Professor

Honors Reader

Dr. Scott Erdman, Associate Professor and Associate Chair / Director of Undergraduate Studies

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Biology | Developmental Biology


My project focuses on the V2 cells of the zebrafish spinal cord. The V2 cells are an unusual class of spinal cells because they all originate from molecularly indistinguishable p2 progenitor cells in the spinal cord. However, as these cells become post-mitotic and differentiate, they start to express different transcription factor genes that allow them to initially develop into two sets of molecularly distinct cells. As differentiation continues, at least one more class of molecularly distinct cells develops. Just as in other vertebrates, in zebrafish the V2 cells differentiate into at least two functionally distinct classes of cells, specifically, the vsx1 (also called chx10) and vsx2 expressing V2a cells and the gata2, gata3, and scl expressing V2b cells. The V2a and V2b cells in turn differentiate into excitatory Circumferential Descending interneurons (CiDs) and inhibitory Ventral Lateral Descending interneurons (VeLDs) respectively. Work on other model organisms also suggests that V2b cells may subdivide into V2b and V2c cells. Previous work by other authors suggests that two genes specifically expressed by V2c cells are sox1 and foxn4. My research has investigated whether transcription factor genes scl and/or gata3 are necessary for proper V2b cell development. I have used scl and gata3 mutants and GFP transgenic lines, to start to determine if the loss of function of scl and gata3 affects: • The expression of genes downstream of scl and gata3 • The morphology of VeLDs • The number of V2b cells in the spinal cord

Additionally, I have investigated whether sox1a, sox1b and foxn4 are: • Expressed in the V2 domain • Affected by the loss of scl or gata3 function

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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