Dr. Yvette Langdon
Cathepsin B, a Regulation of Early Zebrafish Embryonic Development
Embryonic development requires coordination of a number of genes and molecular signaling pathways to properly pattern an embryo. Prior to the onset of zygotic gene expression, the earliest developmental processes are regulated by maternal factors. These maternal factors are required for a number of developmental processes including oogenesis/ egg development, egg activation, animal-vegetal polarity, fertilization, cell cleavage events, morphogenetic movements, and formation of the body axes. Previous studies have shown that zygotic genes can be expressed maternally and function in novel signaling pathways which are distinct from their zygotic function. Cathepsin B was identified in the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a gene with both maternal and zygotic functions. Numerous studies suggest the potential for modulating Cathepsin B signaling in the treatment of Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, lung diseases, Adipogenesis, intestine trauma, and cancer. To understand how Cathepsin B signaling, both maternal and zygotic, is involved in a number of diverse developmental process and disease states, and how Cathepsin B can be developed as a potential therapeutic, it is important that we understand the mechanism of Cathepsin B signaling. These studies will focus on investigating the recently identified novel role for Cathepsin B function in early zebrafish cell migration/ morphogenesis and dorsal-ventral patterning. Much of the current research on Cathepsin B was performed in in vitro experiments. In the studies here, in vivo analyses in the zebrafish will be performed for cell migration/ morphogenesis movements. Furthermore, molecular pathways and components that function with Cathepsin B will be identified to elucidate a more complete understanding of the role of Cathepsin B during early embryonic development. Additionally, these studies may suggest potential mechanism(s) utilized by tumor cells to promote cancer cell progression though the upregulation of Cathepsin 8, which may ultimately lead to the identification of cancer therapies targeting Cathepsin B.