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Title:Dissecting the molecular mechanisms of germ cell development in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea
Author(s):Wang, Yuying
Director of Research:Newmark, Phillip A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Belmont, Andrew S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Newmark, Phillip A.; Brieher, William M.; Wang, Fei; Yao, Humphrey H-C.
Department / Program:Cell & Developmental Biology
Discipline:Cell and Developmental Biology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
germ cell development
RNAi screen
Abstract:Our understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in germ cell development is limited to classical genetic model organisms and would benefit from studying additional animal models. Freshwater planarian provides a unique system for studying germ cell development: these animals appear to form their germline post-embryonically from neoblasts, the totipotent stem cells of the species. In this study, we aim to systematically investigate germ cell development in planarian species Schmidtea mediterranea. We first identified a S. mediterranea homolog of the conserved early germ cell marker and germ granule component nanos and showed that it is required for planarian germline development, maintenance, and regeneration. Then we took a microarray analysis approach to identify planarian germ cell-specific transcripts and validated their expression in planarian germline by whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH). Finally, we carried out a RNA interference screen to analyze functions of these germline-specific genes in planarian germ cell development. We successfully identified a list of genes, encoding both conserved and novel factors, which play important roles regulating various stages of planarian germ cell differentiation. This work lays the groundwork for future studies using planarian as a model system to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying germ cell development.
Issue Date:2010-08-31
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Yuying Wang
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-08-31
Date Deposited:2010-08

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