Date

1-4-2016 12:00 AM

Major

Biology

Department

Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Project Advisor

Julie Kuhlman

Project Advisor's Department

Genetics, Development and Cell Biology

Description

The enteric nervous system (ENS) is a network of nerves derived from neural crest cells that innervates the gut. ENS developmental abnormalities result in a number of gastrointestinal issues including Hirchsprung’s disease, therefore insight into the genes behind the development of the ENS could have great medical significance. Despite the amount of research on neural crest cells and how they are induced to migrate and differentiate, what specifically guides migration and specialization of ENS precursors remains unknown. The chemokine receptor protein CXCR4 and its ligand CXCL12 play an important role in axon guidance for the lateral line nerve. This project examines the potential role of CXCR4 and CXCL12 in the development of the ENS using Danio rerio as a model organism. Lateral line staining illustrates a phenotypical difference between wild-type offspring of Danio rerio and those with mutations in either their CXCR4 or CXCL12 genes. Further examination via immunohistochemistry shows a complete ENS present in both mutant and wild-type fish. However, feeding assay results suggest that the ENS of the mutant fish may not function as well compared to the wild-type. These data suggest that the CXCR4/CXCL12 proteins may play a role in the proper development and activity of the ENS.

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

The CXCR4/CXCL12 Receptor-Ligand Pair and the Development of the Enteric Nervous System in Danio Rerio

The enteric nervous system (ENS) is a network of nerves derived from neural crest cells that innervates the gut. ENS developmental abnormalities result in a number of gastrointestinal issues including Hirchsprung’s disease, therefore insight into the genes behind the development of the ENS could have great medical significance. Despite the amount of research on neural crest cells and how they are induced to migrate and differentiate, what specifically guides migration and specialization of ENS precursors remains unknown. The chemokine receptor protein CXCR4 and its ligand CXCL12 play an important role in axon guidance for the lateral line nerve. This project examines the potential role of CXCR4 and CXCL12 in the development of the ENS using Danio rerio as a model organism. Lateral line staining illustrates a phenotypical difference between wild-type offspring of Danio rerio and those with mutations in either their CXCR4 or CXCL12 genes. Further examination via immunohistochemistry shows a complete ENS present in both mutant and wild-type fish. However, feeding assay results suggest that the ENS of the mutant fish may not function as well compared to the wild-type. These data suggest that the CXCR4/CXCL12 proteins may play a role in the proper development and activity of the ENS.