Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Theses & dissertations (Interdisciplinary)

Major

Neuroscience

First Advisor

M. Heather West Greenlee

Second Advisor

Tim Day

Third Advisor

Etsuro Uemura

Abstract

Retinal diseases involving degeneration of photoreceptors are an increasing cause of blindness in this country, particularly among the aging population. A solid understanding of retinal development is central to combating photoreceptor degeneration on several fronts. Defining developmental processes may have therapeutic relevance in 'rehabilitating' photoreceptor cells that can be rescued from degenerative processes by the application of exogenous trophic or survival factors. Further, advances in stem cell research may someday make replacement of photoreceptors a feasible therapy for the treatment of retinal degeneration. In this regard, it will be crucial that we have a clear understanding of the developing retinal environment, and the combination of intrinsic signals and extrinsic factors that influence retinal cells to adopt a photoreceptor cell fate.;The purpose of this study is to identify molecules important to rod genesis and differentiation. As a first step, we used 2 dimensional gel protein expression to identify proteins that are dynamically expressed or modified during rod genesis.;Further we tested the role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) during retinal development particularly during the ages of rod genesis and differentiation. mTOR is involved in cell growth. We found that mTOR was expressed throughout retinal development and although was found in rod photoreceptors did not appear to be specific to them. We also found that when retinal explants were exposed to rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, for 10 days, rod differentiation decreased as assayed by rhodopsin expression. This indicates a modulatory role of mTOR on rod photoreceptor differentiation.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/rtd-180813-16884

Publisher

Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/

Copyright Owner

Alison Elizabeth Barnhill

Language

en

Proquest ID

AAI3307099

OCLC Number

238234801

ISBN

9780549543671

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

102 pages

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