First Advisor

Bradley A. Buckley

Date of Publication

Winter 3-20-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology






Overexpression (Genetics) -- Zebra danio -- Effect of stress on, Zebra danio -- Embryology



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 54 pages)


The CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein delta (C/EBPδ) is a highly conserved transcription factor capable of regulating numerous cell fate processes, such as cell growth, differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. C/EBPδ is inducible during cellular stress responses, including inflammation and responses to growth factor deprivation or thermal stress. C/EBPδ is stress-inducible in a diversity of fishes, including the zebrafish Danio rerio; however, little is known about its role in fish development. Here I show that overexpression of C/EBPδ leads to severe developmental defects, including reduced body length, edema, liver malformation and retinal abnormalities. The proportion of individuals that display developmental abnormalities is significantly greater in C/EBPδ-overexpressing embryos compared to control embryos and overexpression significantly reduces survival of larvae over time. TUNEL analysis suggests C/EBPδ-overexpressing embryos exhibit a pattern of apoptotic cell death which is spatially distinct from control embryos. These data support a critical role for C/EBPδ in numerous developmental processes, including promoting programmed cell death during development. Mutations in C/EBPδ have been implicated in the progression of human tumors, including those of myeloid, hepatocellular and breast cancers. Therefore, the C/EBPδ-overexpressing zebrafish will serve as a valuable model for examining the role of this gene during development, as a part of the cellular response to stress and in pathological states such as tumor progression.


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