Date Thesis Awarded


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Margaret Saha

Committee Members

Diane Shakes

Mark Forsyth, Jonathan Scheerer


Embryonic plasticity is an essential feature during early development, which allows embryos to, to some extent, recover from various forms of environmental perturbations throughout embryogenesis. The anterior-posterior (AP) neural axis plasticity in particular, which focuses on the ability of the embryos to repattern their AP neural axis, has received much of the attention. Previous data from our lab has indicated that the window of AP neural axis plasticity is between mid- and late gastrula stage; RNA-Seq also provided us with a list of candidate genes that may contribute to AP neural axis plasticity. The current research further analyzed the temporal aspect of the AP neural axis plasticity, and showed that recovery from AP neural axis rotation, which occurs in an evenly progressive fashion, starts at neural plate stage (St. 14) and is mostly finished by mid-neurula stage (St. 16). This research also for the first time comprehensively characterized the spatiotemporal expression patterns of the trpv channels during early development, which was among the candidate genes identified in preliminary experiments. Our results showed that trpv channels have unique yet related patterns of embryonic expression, suggesting that they play diverse and critical roles during early embryogenesis. We also performed functional analysis on trpv4, whose expression pattern suggests a potential role in the determination and patterning of neuroectoderm. Results showed that trpv4 is likely responsible for promoting the fate towards neuroectoderm, although such role is very likely redundant with other unidentified genes.

Available for download on Friday, April 30, 2021