Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Katharine Lewis, Associate Professor
Dr. Scott Erdman, Associate Professor and Associate Chair / Director of Undergraduate Studies
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Sciences and Engineering
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
Kamara, Kadiah Oyah, "Analyzing the Roles of scl and gata3 in Zebrafish Spinal Cord Interneuron Specification and Function" (2012). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 143.
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