Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2018

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Joseph LoTurco

Honors Major

Molecular and Cell Biology


Cell Biology


Many cancers are known to have genetic rearrangements, as these rearrangements develop abnormalities that can lead to certain types of cancer. Many of these genetic rearrangements can be caused by transposons, which are DNA sequences that can change its position and move to other positions within the genome. Transposons move to and integrate into a new location by the action of transposase enzymes, and recently genes that code for proteins similar to transposases and with transposase activity have been identified in the human and other vertebrate genomes. In this study, one of these genes, human piggyBac transposable element derived 5 (PGBD5), was examined for its possible role in the development of neurons in the brains of mice because this gene has been shown to be expressed in neurons of the cerebral cortex. This project tested whether introduction of the PGBD5 transposon through a pCAG overexpression vector altered the development of neural cells. PGBD5 was introduced during the development of the brain in mice, and we examined the effects on neuron number, size, and position. The technique to introduce the transgene was In Utero Electroporation (IUE) and fluorescent microscopic imaging, and quantification was used to assay its effects relative to a control that only received a fluorescent marker. We quantified and compared cell size, location, and cell counts of PBGD5 overexpressing and control cells and found that while there were no significant differences in cell counts, there were significant differences in cell size and cell position. The experimental cells showed an increase in cell size and a decrease in cell distance from the cortex when compared to the control cells. Our results indicate that PGDB5 may play a role in the development of neural cells.

Included in

Cell Biology Commons