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Publication Date


First Advisor

Michael J.F. Barresi

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

bachelor of Arts


Biological Sciences


Brain development, Central nervous system, Zebrafish development, Meteorin, Signaling


Midline morphogenic signaling is well known to play a critical role in patterning the cell fates of the developing nervous system. In vitro studies have suggested that Meteorin is a putative glial cell differentiation factor; however, its prominent expression in the developing vertebrate nervous system has yet to be investigated. We have taken advantage of the zebrafish model system to investigate the role that meteorin and its paralog meteorin-like play in radial glial development across the CNS. We have determined that both metrn and metrnl are expressed dorsally in a restricted but overlapping pattern that is most concentrated at the midline. In an attempt to analyze the functional requirement of these two genes in radial glial development, we have conducted both gene knock-down and knockout approaches for metrn and metrnl genes in zebrafish. Loss of function of Meteorin results in tail axis curvature and cyclopia. Interestingly, overexpression of metrn mRNA similarly causes cyclopic embryos. Importantly, combinatorial analyses of genes and approaches suggest synergistic functions between metrn and metrnl. Currently, we are assessing cell type expression patterns of these Meteorin genes, as well as characterizing the cell fate patterns following gain and loss of function manipulations. We propose that Meteorin functions as a novel dorsal midline morphogenic signal that serves to regulate progenitor cell development in the early CNS.


2020 Madeline Marie Ryan. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




54 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-54)