Date Thesis Awarded

5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience

Advisor

Jennifer Bestman

Committee Members

Diane Shakes

Dana Willner

Robin Looft-Wilson

Abstract

Understanding the genes and mechanisms that regulate the highly important process of neurogenesis in the developing nervous system is crucial to uncovering why disease arises when this system is disrupted. Neural progenitor cells and their multipotent nature allow for the growth of a large pool of stem cells in the early stages of development, but the signal that leads these cells to the irreversible fate of becoming a neuron is unclear. The gene matr3 has been implicated in having a role in the maintenance of undifferentiated neural stem cells but its role needs further investigation to fully reveal how its nuclear protein matrin-3 may be affecting this process. Overexpression of this gene through the introduction of plasmid DNA in vivo is expected to maintain the pool of progenitor cells for an extended period of time in the brains of Xenopus laevis tadpoles. Whole brain electroporation and live imaging studies will hopefully reveal the effects of this gene’s overexpression on radial glial progenitor cells within the X. laevis optic tectum and would allow for an increase in the knowledge of how matr3 potentially plays a role in human brain development .

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