Exploring gene expression during wound healing and limb regeneration in the common sea star, Asterias rubens
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Science
There are over 1500 species of sea stars living in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. The common sea star, Asterias rubens, is a marine invertebrate of the phylum Echinodermata, and is found predominantly in intertidal zones of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. A. rubens have regenerative capabilities; they can undergo autotomy in response to a traumatic event and regenerate a genetically identical appendage. The objective of my research is to explore developmental genes involved in wound healing and arm regeneration in A. rubens. Using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, we explored four sets of genes involved in sea star regeneration including the immunoglobulin kappa region, genes for cysteine proteases, a homeobox domain, and an elongation factor subunit. Prior to experimental amputation, expression levels of all genes were not detectable. Following post-arm amputation, expression was seen in all genes of interest though the time at which this expression was detectable varied between gene targets. From a healthcare standpoint, understanding the regenerative capacity of sea stars may provide insight into the molecular basis of wound healing and regenerative capacities of higher vertebrates. Since 70% of echinoderm genes have human homologs the results of this research could be a significant contributor in exploring the genetics of wound healing in humans.
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