Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)

Department

Colby College. Biology Dept.

Advisor(s)

Joshua Kavaler

Second Advisor

Paul G. Greenwood

Third Advisor

Judy L. Stone

Abstract

The ability to appropriately interact with the environment is crucial to an organism’s survival. The establishment of functional sensory systems, such as the bristles and eyes in Drosophila, is a critical event during the development of the organism. The transcription factor D Pax2 is involved in the differentiation of the shaft and glial cells in the developing bristle (Kavaler et al., Dev, 126:2261-2272, 1999) and of the cone and primary pigment cells in the developing eye (Fu and Noll, Genes Dev, 11:389-405, 1997). How D-Pax2 contributes to distinct differentiative pathways in different cell types is not known. Recent work by Anna Czechowski and Katherine Harmon (personal communication) identified a mutation in the D-Pax2 gene that introduced a stop codon at the end of exon 9, effectively truncating the protein. This mutation affects bristle, but not eye, development. We thus suspected regions after exon 9 are required for D-Pax2 function only in the bristles and may also be associated with alternative splicing of the D Pax2 transcript. We plan to assess the role of the carboxy terminal region of the protein by establishing transgenic lines bearing rescue constructs of D-Pax2 with either the complete coding sequence or with deletions of specific exons. To date, we have generated the first rescue construct bearing the complete coding region of the gene driven by a 3 KB upstream regulatory region of D-Pax2 and are currently generating transgenic fly lines with this construct.

Keywords

drosophila, D Pax2, eye and bristle development, codon