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- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
Environmental and genetic factors influence schizophrenia risk. Individuals who have direct family members with schizophrenia have a much higher incidence. Also, acute stress or life crisis may precede the onset of the disease. This study aims to understand the effects of environment on genes related to schizophrenia risk. It investigates the impact of sleep deprivation as an acute environmental stressor on the expression of Htr2a in mice, a gene that codes for the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR). HTR2A is associated with schizophrenia risk through genetic association studies and expression is decreased in post-mortem studies of patients with the disease. Furthermore, sleep deprivation as a stressor in human trials has been shown to increase the binding capacity of 5-HT2AR. We hypothesize that sleep deprivation will increase the number of cells expressing Htr2a in the mouse anterior prefrontal cortex when compared to controls. Sleep deprived that mice express EGFP under control of the Htr2a promoter displayed anteroposterior gradients of expression across sagittal sections, with concentrations seen most densely within the prefrontal cortex as well as the anterior pretectal nucleus, thalamic nucleus, as well as the cingulate gyrus. Htr2a-EGFP expression was most densely visualized in cortical layer V and VI pyramidal neurons within the lateral prefrontal cortex of coronal sections. Furthermore, the medial prefrontal cortex contained significantly cells expressing Htr2a¬-EGFP than the lateral prefrontal cortex. Ultimately, the hypothesis was not supported and sleep deprivation did not result in more ¬Htr2a-EGFP expressing cells compared to basal levels. However, expressing cells appeared visibly brighter in sleep-deprived animals when compared to controls, indicating that the amount of intracellular Htr2a-GFP expression may be higher. This study provides strong visual representations of expression gradients following sleep deprivation as an acute stressor and paves the way for future studies regarding 5H-T2AR’s role in schizophrenia.
The intracellular motility seen in the cytoplasm of angiosperm plant pollen tubes is known as reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming (i.e., cyclosis). This effect occurs when organelles move anterograde along the cortex of the cell and retrograde down the center of the cell. The result is a displacement of cytoplasmic volume causing a cyclic motion of organelles and bulk liquid. Visually, the organelles appear to be traveling in a backwards fountain hence the name. The use of light microscopy bioimaging in this study has documented reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming for the first time in fungal hyphae of Rhizopus oryzae and other members in the order Mucorales (Mucoromycota). This is a unique characteristic of the mucoralean fungi, with other fungal phyla (e.g., Ascomycota, Basidiomycota) exhibiting unidirectional cytoplasmic behavior that lacks rhythmic streaming (i.e., sleeve-like streaming). The mechanism of reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming in filamentous fungi is currently unknown. However, in angiosperm plant pollen tubes it’s correlated with the arrangement and activity of the actin cytoskeleton. Thus, the current work assumes that filamentous actin and associated proteins are directly involved with the cytoplasmic behavior in Mucorales hyphae. From an evolutionary perspective, fungi in the Mucorales may have developed reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming as a method to transport various organelles over long and short distances. In addition, the mechanism is likely to facilitate driving of polarized hyphal growth.