2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

The genetic interaction between unc-33 and hmp-2 in embryonic epidermal morphogenesis of Caenorhabditis elegans

Grace Gottschamer*, Hannah Nardi, and Gracie D. LaFoe
Dr. Stephanie Maiden, Faculty Mentor

The embryonic epidermis in Caenorhabditis elegans is a simple genetic model to understand epithelial cell structure and movement during development. Epidermal morphogenesis requires the cadherin-catenin complex to maintain cell-cell contacts and promote tissue integrity. We previously showed knockdown of hmp-2/β-catenin by feeding RNA interference (RNAi) in homozygous unc-33(e204) animals results in embryonic lethality compared to wildtype. The unc-33 gene encodes a microtubule regulator known for its role in neuronal development, but a role in the epidermis has not been defined. Using differential interference contrast microscopy, we analyzed different unc-33 alleles and found feeding hmp-2 RNAi resulted in a higher percentage of epidermal ruptures compared to wildtype. This suggests the epidermal contractions through actin at the cadherin-catenin complex tore the epidermal sheet that was not properly formed. Current experiments looking at participating microtubules and actin with fluorescent confocal microscopy will shed light on the genetic interaction.

Keywords: Animal development, Gene interaction, Epidermis


Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 209-3
Location: MG 1096
Time: 11:00

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