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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Kitlb is Required for Development of Coordinated Muscular Contractions in the Zebrafish Gastrointestinal Tract

Gastrointestinal (GI) motility is the spontaneous rhythmic contraction of smooth muscles that mix and propel the contents of the GI tract. Regulation of the complex muscular contractions is controlled by smooth muscles, interstitial cells of the Cajal (ICC) and enteric neurons. ICC act as pacemaker cells in the GI tract and set the frequency of spontaneous contractions. Altering ICC density results in uncoordinated GI muscular contractions. Our lab examines the role of ICC in GI motility and is focused on mechanisms that regulate ICC growth and development. Activation of the Kit receptor by the binding of Kit ligand is necessary for the growth and development of ICC, and for normal motility patterns. This project specifically examines the role of Kit-Kit ligand signaling on ICC development using the zebrafish model system. The zebrafish has two Kit genes (kita and kitb) and two Kit ligand genes (kitla and kitlb). The objective of this study is to determine the role of kitlb on development and maturation of ICC in the zebrafish. Expression of kitlb was reduced by injecting a morpholino oligonucleotide (MO) specific for kitlb. MO efficacy will be verified using polymerase chain reaction. ICC development was assayed by directly measuring GI motility patterns in transparent larvae. Kitlb MO treated larvae displayed uncoordinated motility patterns, had fewer contractions, and shorter contractions when compared to control larvae. These results show that kitlb is necessary for the development of normal motility patterns in the zebrafish GI tract. This work is supported by NIH DK07158801.

Presenter: Brittany Heatherington (The College at Brockport) -- bheat1@brockport.edu
Topic: Biology - Panel
Location: 215 Hartwell
Time: 9 am (Session I)

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Fri, Dec 5

Major Exploration Day
9 am - 3:15 pm