Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Margaret Saha

Committee Members

Jennifer Bestman

Robin Looft-Wilson

Phoebe Williams


Xenopus laevis embryos have a profound ability to heal themselves from physical perturbations, without leaving any scar tissue behind. The molecular mechanisms behind Xenopus laevis embryo wound-healing and plasticity have been largely unexplored and misunderstood. Several novel genes were revealed as involved with this wound-healing and plasticity through RNA-sequencing of a rotations experiment on stage 11.5-12.5 embryos, in which neural tissue consisting of the anterior-posterior axis was rotated, and allowed to heal and repattern. Two of these genes, Multimerin 2 (MMRN2) and Histone Deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) have been implicated in wound-healing mechanisms, though their functions in Xenopus laevis embryogenesis have not been fully explored. In this study MMRN2 and HDAC7 expression patterns are characterized through in situ hybridization. This thesis aims to explore and better define the specific role of these genes in the molecular mechanisms behind wound-healing, through the use of expression analysis and functional assays, in order to better understand wound-healing and plasticity of Xenopus laevis embryos. RNA probes were constructed for MMRN2 and HDAC7 for use in whole mount in situ hybridization, in which expression of these genes was observed over various embryo stages. Results from the in situ hybridizations show possible expression patterns in the head region for MMRN2 late tailbud embryos, and in the endoderm for HDAC7 late tailbud embryos, though these patterns appear to not be consistent or significant, and further in situ hybridizations will need to be conducted to confirm this. Observing expression of both these genes and pinpointing stages of expression is the first step to defining the role of these genes in Xenopus laevis embryo wound-healing and plasticity, and applying the functions of these genes to wound-treatment research in humans.

Available for download on Saturday, May 13, 2023

On-Campus Access Only