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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Role of Williams Syndrome Transcription Factor in heart development in Xenopus

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 12/01/2011
End Date 06/30/2012
Funding Source Alaska Heart Institute Fellowship
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 03/25/2012 12:09AM
Keywords xenopus, williams syndrome

People

Faculty
  Jocelyn Krebs

Student Researchers
  Audrey Rutz

Abstract

Williams Syndrome Transcription factor (WSTF) was first identified in the deletion of several genes on chromosome 7. This heterozygous deletion results in Williams syndrome (WS), a developmental disorder. Patients with WS display a number of systemic defects, such as heart defects, a characteristic facial appearance, growth deficiency, and cognitive disability. WSTF is a subunit of several different ATP-dependent remodeling complexes and these remodeling complexes use ATP hydrolysis energy to rearrange chromatin along DNA to initiate gene transcription or repression, especially during development. Knockouts of WSTF in mice exhibit a wide spectrum of cardiac defects similar to those seen in WS patients. However, more studies on the correlation between the function of WSTF and early stages of heart development still need to be done. I therefore propose to use Xenopus laevis embryos to see if WSTF is involved in early
stages of heart development. I will knock down the expression of WSTF in Xenopus embryos via microinjection of an antisense WSTF morpholino (a stable oligonucleotide analog). I will then examine the expression of cardiac marker genes such as Nkx2-5 and Cardiac oc-actin in intact embryos by in situ hybridization. To further characterize the details of any morphological changes in heart development in the WSTF knockdown embryos, I will also perform histological sectioning. The studies of WSTF in this proposal will provide us an opportunity to evaluate the early impacts on heart development in a critical gene missing in patients with Williams Syndrome.

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