Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Cuong Q. Diep, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Hinrichsen, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daniel Widzowski, Ph.D.

Abstract

Kidney disease is a major health problem and current treatments for kidney failure are expensive and have severe limitations. Therefore, an alternative therapy such as stem cells/regeneration is needed. Unlike human, zebrafish can regenerate their damaged kidney. Their kidney stem cells express the lhx1a gene, which is essential for kidney development and regeneration. We found that lhx1a dimerizes with itself in a genetic assay and hypothesize that dimerization is important for its activation as a transcription factor. A genetic screen was carried out and the R1 peptide was found to bind to lhx1a. The goal of this project was to screen for other peptides that bind to lhx1a and to determine whether the R1 peptide affects lhx1a dimerization. If so, the R1 peptide could serve as a new tool for modulating the function of lhx1a, which would provide insights into the molecular function of lhx1a during kidney development and regeneration, which then provide us with insights on the regenerative mechanism.

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