Date of Completion

Spring 5-31-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Anastasios Tzingounis

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Biology | Diseases | Medicine and Health Sciences | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Nervous System Diseases | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


KCNQ2 channels are potassium channels that serve to control neuronal excitability. Loss of function mutations in these channels are known to cause various forms of epilepsy. Recently, KCNQ2 R201C and R201H gain of function mutations have been shown to exhibit an exaggerated startle response and other unique phenotypes uncharacteristic of epilepsy. These phenotypes resemble hyperekplexia, a condition in which glycine neurotransmission in the spinal cord and brainstem is affected. While KCNQ2 has widespread localization throughout the brain, its presence in the brainstem remains unknown. We used immunostaining to determine the localization of KCNQ2 in the vagus nerve and hypoglossal nerve of the brainstem. Our results show that KCNQ2 is present in these regions in addition to being localized on glycinergic neurons.