Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Robert Major, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Hinrichsen, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Megan Knoch, Ph.D.

Abstract

Planarians serve as a good model organism for studying regeneration. They regenerate by utilizing a subset of cells called neoblasts. Neoblasts are recruited to the site of injury to form the blastema. Retinoic acid (RA) is a small Vitamin A derivative. It is important in several regenerating animals. This study looks specifically at its role in planarian regeneration. To begin, we examined at the expression pattern of Raldh-2, the rate-limiting enzyme in RA metabolism. We found it expressed distinctly around the digestive tract. Using the drug DEAB, known to inhibit Raldh-2, we eliminated the production of RA acid and studied the effect on regeneration. We found that regeneration was disrupted in DEAB-treated animals. The drug exhibited an asymmetric affect, affecting the anterior portions more. In fragmented animals, the anterior-facing blastemas were malformed. Additionally, the pre-pharyngeal fragments died at a higher rate than the post-pharyngeal.

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