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Mechanisms of shell-building in the Arcellinid testate amoebae
Laura A. Katz
Bachelor of Arts
Arcellinida, Amoebozoa, Testate amoeba, Eukaryotic microbes, Protists, Thecagenesis, Cellular trafficking, Gene expression, Transcriptomics
The Arcellinida (Amoebozoa) are a widespread order of freshwater testate amoeba. They play key roles in microbial ecosystems, including microbial food webs and nutrient cycling, and they are important bioindicators of ecosystem health and climate change. They are also engineering marvels, constructing intricate and diverse shells (tests) that have a wide range of morphologies and construction materials. Despite their importance, the Arcellinida remain severely understudied, and their cell biology is poorly characterized. In this study I aim to better understand shell-building in the Arcellinida by analyzing a set of candidate genes and assessing their differential expression in thecagenesis (i.e. shell building). I combine analysis of literature studies, microscopy, and transcriptomics to assess gene expression during shell-building. The results of this study implicate several genes in thecagenesis—notably I found that several gene families associated with membrane trafficking and cytoskeletal dynamics were differentially expressed. These data suggest that arcellinid gene families can be associated with cellular processes involved in thecagenesis. Future studies should examine these and additional gene families in more depth, as well as conduct functional characterization experiments, to better understand their role(s) in thecagenesis. These studies will increase our understanding of arcellinid physiology.
©2021 Naomi K. Ostriker. 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.
Ostriker, Naomi K., "Between a cell and a hard place : mechanisms of shell-building in the Arcellinid testate amoebae" (2021). Honors Project, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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