Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Joseph Loturco

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Life Sciences | Other Physiology | Physiology


miRNAs function to regulate gene expression through post-transcriptional mechanisms to potentially regulate multiple aspects of physiology and development. Whole transcriptome analysis has been conducted on the citron kinase mutant rat, a mutant that shows decreases in brain growth and development. The resulting differences in RNA between mutant and wild-type controls can be used to identify genetic pathways that may be regulated differentially in normal compared to abnormal neurogenesis. The goal of this thesis was to verify, with quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), changes in miRNA expression in Cit-k mutants and wild types. In addition to confirming miRNA expression changes, bio-informatics software TargetScan 5.1 was used to identify potential mRNA targets of the differentially expressed miRNAs. The miRNAs that were confirmed to change include: rno-miR-466c, mmu-miR-493, mmu-miR-297a, hsa-miR-765, and hsa-miR-1270. The TargetScan analysis revealed 347 potential targets which have known roles in development. A subset of these potential targets include genes involved in the Wnt signaling pathway which is known to be an important regulator of stem cell development.