The Role of TP53i11 in Regulating Apoptosis of Rohon-Beard Sensory Neurons During Zebrafish Embryonic Development

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Jorge Cantu, Ph.D.


In zebrafish and other teleosts, Rohon-Beard primary sensory neurons participate in the embryonic escape response, help to guide the growth of motor axons and nerves, and innervate the trunk and tail of the developing fish. The RB cells are short-lived, and typically undergo apoptosis by 3-5 days post fertilization, after the spinal cord and branching tail nerves have begun developing normally. Recent research has shown that RB cells express the TP53-induced gene, TP53i11. Little is known about this gene’s function in any vertebrate system; it is one of the few TP53 genes whose role has not been systematically investigated. TP53-Induced Gene 11 Protein likely plays a role in signaling the enzyme Caspase 9 to commence the apoptosis of the RB cells once they’ve served their purpose; developing a whole mount in situ hybridization protocol to stain both Rohon- Beard cells and cells expressing TP53i11, and using this protocol to assess the spatial and temporal expression pattern of TP53i11's role in normal nervous system development, allows the gene’s role in Rohon-Beard apoptosis to be more accurately modeled.

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