Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Margaret Saha, Ph.D

Committee Members

Jorge L. Terukina, Ph.D

Jennifer E. Bestman, Ph.D

Shanta D. Hinton, Ph.D

Mark H Forsyth, PhD


Embryonic development is a complex process in which a single cell gives rise to a whole organism. This process happens through the commitment, growth, and death of cells. Throughout this process, the embryo shows an incredible ability to recover from many perturbations. This ability to adapt and recover, also known as plasticity, is dependent on the proper orchestration of many cellular processes. One of these major important processes is the maintenance of oxidative stress through the transcription of antioxidant genes. Previous studies in our lab showed that physical perturbations to the developing nervous system of Xenopus laevis embryos resulted in differential transcription of Nrf2-antioxidant pathway genes, kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1, glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic subunit, and oxidative stress induced growth inhibitor 1. In order to understand the possible roles of these genes in the recovery process and in the development of the nervous system, whole mount in situ hybridization technique was used to study the spatiotemporal expression patterns of these genes. Furthermore, to examine the function of osgin1 in neuronal development, overexpression of osgin1 mRNA in Xenopus laevis through mRNA microinjection was performed. The effects of this overexpression on neuronal cell marker, N beta-tubulin class II (tubb2b), was used to study its possible role in neurodifferentiation. The results showed thatkeap1 and osgin1 are expressed in mainly neural tissue whilst gclc is not. In addition, all three genes are concurrently expressed in the notochord at the same time. Furthermore, overexpression of osgin1 mRNA showed an aberrant but overall increase in the expression oftubb2b. Altogether, our data suggest a possible role for the Nrf2-antioxidant genes in neurodifferentiation.

On-Campus Access Only