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Uncovering Molecular Properties of Neural Crest Cells


Adams, Meghan Sara (2009) Uncovering Molecular Properties of Neural Crest Cells. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/KYEQ-T802.


The neural crest is a transient population of cells that arises at the border between the neural and non-neural ectoderm. These cells are induced, undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and then migrate along stereotypical pathways to form a wide array of derivatives. While these cells have long been studied, much about these cells and their interactions is still not understood. In order to better define these cells, we performed a screen for genes involved in neural crest cell development based on an in vitro culture system that produces neural crest cells. This highly successful screen resulted in a large number of candidates to examine, and we performed in situ hybridization to define the mRNA expression of 112 these genes. Moreover, we performed QPCR on several transcription factors that resulted from this screen to determine the level at which they were upregulated in our in vitro culture system. We also present loss-of-function analyses of two different genes that were discovered in our screen for neural crest effectors. These genes, Adh5 and Ccar1, are both functionally relevant in neural crest cells and the loss of either one through morpholino knockdown significantly decreases the mRNA of Sox10 on the injected side. Furthermore, we also show that Adh5 morpholino knockdown also results in a reduction of Snail2 and FoxD3 mRNA. Taken as a whole, this body of work represents the discovery of many new genes involved neural crest cell development, and the demonstration that at least two of these genes are functionally important for neural crest cells.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Adh5; Ccar1; Chicken embryo; Cranial neural crest; Electroporations; Migratory neural crest; Morpolino; Premigratory neural crest; QPCR; Screen; Transcription factor; Trunk neural crest
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Bronner, Marianne E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Zinn, Kai George (chair)
  • Rothenberg, Ellen V.
  • Bronner, Marianne E.
  • Fraser, Scott E.
Defense Date:26 May 2009
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05292009-111417
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5217
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:29 May 2009
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:17

Thesis Files

PDF (FINAL_Thesis_Meghan_S_Adams.pdf) - Final Version
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