Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

5-8-2024 11:00 AM

End Date

5-8-2024 1:00 PM

Subjects

Age-related macular degeneration, Anoxia, Retinal degeneration

Advisor

Jason Podrabsky

Student Level

Doctoral

Abstract

Vertebrate eye development is highly conserved. Current models have allowed the understanding of gene expression patterns that support eye development, but lack the context of extreme environmental conditions that challenge these fundamental programs. Typical vertebrate life spans can be years, but annual killifish, Austrofundulus limnaeus, are able to complete their entire adult lifespan in only weeks. Thus, A. limnaeus is a strong model for age-related macular degeneration. A. limnaeus also experiences embryonic diapause; a period of developmental dormancy. Developing/diapausing embryos of A. limnaeus are resistant to environmental stresses such as hypoxia/anoxia that would cause irreparable damage to vital organs, such as the eyes, in other species. Therefore, I hypothesize that: (1) embryos of A. limnaeus possess molecular/physiological mechanisms that can prevent loss, or regenerate eye cells when faced with oxygen stress. (2) The key genes that signal regeneration in other vertebrate organs, such as ascl1, purinergic receptors, etc. are deactivated during retinal cell differentiation, and expression of these genes is reactivated in response to cellular stress. I will explore the timing/location of the expression of these genes. RNA sequencing of A. limnaeus embryos will improve our understanding of vertebrate eye development and retinal cell regeneration.

Creative Commons License or Rights Statement

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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May 8th, 11:00 AM May 8th, 1:00 PM

Annual Killifish: Eye Development and Retinal Cell Regeneration

Vertebrate eye development is highly conserved. Current models have allowed the understanding of gene expression patterns that support eye development, but lack the context of extreme environmental conditions that challenge these fundamental programs. Typical vertebrate life spans can be years, but annual killifish, Austrofundulus limnaeus, are able to complete their entire adult lifespan in only weeks. Thus, A. limnaeus is a strong model for age-related macular degeneration. A. limnaeus also experiences embryonic diapause; a period of developmental dormancy. Developing/diapausing embryos of A. limnaeus are resistant to environmental stresses such as hypoxia/anoxia that would cause irreparable damage to vital organs, such as the eyes, in other species. Therefore, I hypothesize that: (1) embryos of A. limnaeus possess molecular/physiological mechanisms that can prevent loss, or regenerate eye cells when faced with oxygen stress. (2) The key genes that signal regeneration in other vertebrate organs, such as ascl1, purinergic receptors, etc. are deactivated during retinal cell differentiation, and expression of these genes is reactivated in response to cellular stress. I will explore the timing/location of the expression of these genes. RNA sequencing of A. limnaeus embryos will improve our understanding of vertebrate eye development and retinal cell regeneration.