Marem Buhalq

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Robert Hinrichsen

Second Advisor

Robert Major

Third Advisor

Daniel Widzowski


The immune system is important to the living organism because it functions as a defensive mechanism to pathogenic microbial infection. The inflammatory response and immune system also play an integral role in wound regeneration and repair. This project was designed to determine if the A2M gene is required for the immune response in planarian by inhibiting the expression of the gene and in order to accomplish this, homologues of the Alpha-2-Macroglobulion (A2M) gene in mice were used to identify similar gene in Schmidtea mediterranea. Once a similar gene was identified the DNA sequence was cloned from a planarian cDNA library. This was followed by RNA interference in order to decrease the expression of the A2M gene. An assay was developed to quantitate the ability of planarian to eliminate E. coli that had been introduced into their food supply. When worms were fed E. coli at the same time as the A2M gene was reduced, the ability of the worms to eliminate bacteria was reduced. These results indicate that the A2M gene product is required in the defense against bacterial infection.