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Cell-cell adhesion is an essential component of a multicellular system. Cadherins are a type of molecule that are known for their role in cell adhesion (Takeichi, 1991). Fat are a class of cadherins that have been shown to be responsible in planar cell polarity and epithelial cell division (Dunne et al., 1995; Viktorinová et al., 2009). Fat has gone primarily unstudied within the zebrafish model, with only fat1 being examined for expression (Down et al., 2005). Based on the 34 cadherin repeat motif of Fat genes, predicted sequences for Fat1-4 exist on online databases. In this study, the predicted Fat genes in zebrafish were examined for gene expression patterns during early developmental stages. All genes were expressed at some point in development, confirming their transcription into RNA and no longer classifying them as predicted sequences. One putative homolog of fat3 was selected for antisense morpholino oligonucleotide knockdown. Zebrafish with the fat3 knockdown did not develop hair cells, however neuromasts remained normal. As the fish developed further and the MO wore off, normal hair cell formation was regained. These results show that fat3 is required for development of fully differentiated hair cells. It also suggests that fat3 plays a role in the differentiation of hair cells from the progenitor cells of the neuromasts.
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Fuchsman, Abigail, "The Role of Cadherin 'fat3' During Hair Cell Formation in Zebrafish" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 161.