Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

Abstract

In multigenic diseases, disorders where mutations in multiple genes affect the expressivity of the disease, genetic interactions play a major role in prevalence and phenotypic severity. While studying the genetic interactions between Pax3 and EdnrB in the melanocyte lineage, a new phenotype was noted in 80% of Pax3 mutants that we believe to be a novel murine model for hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus, an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the cranial cavity due to obstruction of flow in and out of the cavity, is one of the most common birth defects surpassing Down syndrome. Characteristic to hydrocephalus is a "domed" head appearance, expansion of the ventricles of the brain, and loss of neurons with hyperproliferation of glial cell types all three of which were seen in the mutant mice. The phenotype also consisted of craniofacial deformities coupled with skeletal defects including, but not limited to kyphosis, lordosis, and an apparent shortening of the some limbs. For the cellular analysis of the hydrocephalus phenotype, brains were removed and stained with two antibodies: Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) and Neurofilament (NF), which are astrocyte- and neuron- specific respectively. A higher number of cells expressing GF AP and a lower number of cells expressing NF were seen in the mutant brain, when compared to control. For skeletal deformity analysis, affected mice skeletons were stained with Alizarin Red and Alcian Blue showing no apparent difference in ossification. Future genetic analysis of these mutant mice has the potential to identify novel gene modifiers involved in the promotion of this particular phenotype.

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