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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Characterization of the wnt5 Expression Pattern During Olfactory Map Development in Drosophila

Our ability to perceive smells depends on the precise arrangement of synaptic terminals in the olfactory bulb, the olfactory map. Little is known about how the map develops, or the molecular basis of its pattern. Our lab had discovered that loss of the wnt5 gene severely distrupted the olfactory map prompting our hypothesis that wnt5 may serve as a template for its pattern. To elucidate wnt5's role, we constructed a wnt5-Ga14 transgene, which allowed us to visualize the source of wnt5 in developing olfactory bulbs. We observed that wnt5 is expressed by a cell cluster located some distance from the olfactory bulb, but contacted the bulb through long processes. The wnt5 protein appeared to be secreted from the ends of the processes forming a gradient. Our results support the existence of novel guidepost cells for olfactory bulb development and wnt5's role as a molecular template of the olfactory map.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Emily Wexler (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Biology
Location: 217 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am Session II