Theses Doctoral

An Investigation into the Function and Specification of Enteroendocrine cells in Drosophila melanogaster and Mus musculus

Bost, Alyssa

Enteroendocrine cells (EEs) are critical components in our bodies' ability to maintain homeostasis after eating a meal. Hormones released by EEs mediate processes ranging from triglyceride processing to glucose balance to hydration maintenance. Despite their importance, they remain relatively poorly understood in terms of development as well as function. Drosophila melanogaster is a promising model in which to study EEs. I performed a gene expression assay in Drosophila, and found 19 transcription factors likely to be specific to EEs. I am in the process of analyzing their mutant phenotypes in the fly midgut. Additionally, by a limited screen of the homologs to the fly EE-specific transcription factors, I was able to identify two candidates for novel transcriptional regulators involved in EE specification or functionality. I will be analyzing the mutant phenotypes for these two genes, Lmx1a and Lmx1b, in addition to a third mutant Prox1, chosen because of the strong phenotype of its homologous gene's knockdown in the fly. I am hoping I will be able to add to the ever-growing body of knowledge in reference to enteroendocrine development.
Additionally, several assays were performed on flies lacking EEs. I found that flies without EEs lay significantly fewer eggs, and have apparent defects in oviposition and defecation. I will outline several experiments to continue the phenotype analysis of flies lacking EEs.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Genetics and Development
Thesis Advisors
Ohlstein, Benjamin
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014