Project Title: Changes in Gene Expression During Brain Remodeling

Faculty Sponsor: Joe Sucic

Department: Biology

Telephone: 810.762.3016

E-Mail: jsucic@umflint.edu

Project Description: Brain remodeling occurs when neuronal connections are altered.  Remodeling is often seen in response to the loss of a sense--other senses become more acute.  Altering neuronal connections requires changes in gene expression.  For this project, we are examining changes in expression of neurotrophins, which regulate neuronal growth, apoptosis, and differentiation, as well as members of the proprotein convertase family, which regulate the activity of the neurotrophins.  Transgenic mice that go blind after birth have been shown to increase other senses, particularly hearing and smell, which is indicative of brain remodeling.  Tissue samples from several regions of the brain from these mice are being examined for the expression of the aforementioned proteins.  We have hypothesized that changes in expression will be observed, as remodeling is apparently taking place.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities:  Student will perform quantification of protein samples isolated from brain tissue and then examine the expression of key neurotrophins and proprotein convertases by using western blotting.

Minimum Student Qualifications: Student should have experience in protein quantification using the BCA assay and also have experience with western blotting.