Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biological Science

First Advisor

Dr. Lidia Kos

Abstract

The vertebrate Neural Crest (NC) is formed during early embryonic development at the neurulation stage. This group of multi potent cells gives rise to a variety of derivatives such as the skin's pigmented cells (Melanocytes), the peripheral nervous system with its associated components, and the endocrine cells of the adrenal medulla amongst others. There are several molecular mechanisms that underlie the development and migration of NC derived cells. For example, during melanocyte differentiation and migration the Endothelin Receptor B and its ligand Endothelin 3 (EdnrB/Edn3), the kit/ Steel factor and the FGF receptor I FGF pathways amongst others play important roles. Additionally, several transcription factors such as Pax3, SoxlO and Mitfalso intervene during the NC cells differentiation processes.

In this work, the possible regulatory interaction of Pax3 and EdnrB was assessed by in situ hybridization methods with EdnrB, SoxlO and Dct riboprobes in Pax3 homozygous embryos. To further characterize this interaction, genetic crosses between Pax3 heterozygous mutants and EdnrB heterozygous animals were established. Coat pigmentation was used as an indicator of genetic interaction on the progeny. Experimental results indicated that Pax3 does not directly regulate the expression of EdnrB during neural crest development but interact to produce normal coat color. I propose two possible models to explain the epistatic relationship of Pax3 and EdnrB during normal melanocyte development.

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