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Deborah Eastman

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The Notch pathway is a signaling pathway that has an important role in the proper development of organisms from flies to humans and is also associated with many diseases and dysfunctions (Woo et al., 2009; Westhoff, et al., 2009). With such an effect on development it is important to understand how the pathway works. In the model organism Ambystoma mexicanum (axolotl) the Notch pathway is hypothesized to be active in the development and differentiation of taste buds. In this honors thesis study, I focused on the development and application of several techniques to study Notch signaling during axolotl taste bud development. These included: perfecting an immunostaining technique to identify and quantify taste buds using the marker calretinin, developing guide RNAs for CRISPR knockouts of the Notch target genes Hes1 and Hes6, and examining the expression of Notch receptors and ligands in developing oropharyngeal endoderm explants using reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RTqPCR). The data provides further foundations for the study of Notch signaling during axolotl taste bud development.



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