Date of Award

Winter 12-27-2018

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Zoology

Advisor

Kristy Townsend

Second Committee Member

Alan Rosenwasser

Third Committee Member

Seth Tyler

Abstract

With the prevalence of neurodegenerative pathologies in our society today it is imperative that we begin to look at novel approaches to the underlying problem of dying neurons that are not replaced. Adult neural stem cells exist naturally and could potentially be manipulated into targeted repair of damaged brains, given substantial research. The first step in this process is to find a way to specifically mark the earliest subset of these cells, the quiescent adult neural stem cells. Here we provide evidence for the existence of a novel and unique qANSC marker in mouse telomerase reverse transcriptase (mTERT). mTERT has been shown to mark a slowly cycling quiescent stem cell population in the gut, and has been shown to be present in the brain. Here we will use two specific mouse models, including a lineage tracing model and a direct reporter model, in order to evaluate the location and behavior of mTERT+ cells within the brain. Through quantitative polymerase chain reaction we were able to determine that mTERT+ cell populations express higher levels common neural stem cell markers than mTERT- cell populations. We were able to use fluorescent staining of brain slices in order to determine the niches for these cells as well as their co-expression patterns.

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