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Vertebrate hair cells convey mechanical stimuli to the brain, and enable individuals to sense sounds and movements in their environment. Unlike mammals, zebrafish are able to regenerate hair cells once they are damaged, so these fish are an effective model to study the molecular basis of the development and regeneration of this mechanosensory cell. The gene encoding the Calcium and Integrin Binding 1 (CIB1) protein, which binds to a variety of effector proteins that regulate signal transduction, has been identified in zebrafish hair and mantle cell transcriptomes. The role of CIB1 in zebrafish posterior hair cell development and regeneration has not been investigated. By exposing zebrafish embryos to morpholino oligonucleotides, which inhibit the translation of the cib1 gene, I was able to characterize the role of this protein during these two processes. Zebrafish with the CIB1 protein knocked down developed hair cells at the same rate, and with the same levels of abundance, as their control counterparts. However, these CIB1 mutants displayed a significantly reduced rate of hair cell regeneration following hair cell ablation as compared to the controls. My results suggest that the CIB1 protein, though not involved in their initial development, does play a role in the process of hair cell regeneration. Furthermore, these findings indicate that there are different molecular mechanisms in play during initial hair cell development and their subsequent regeneration.
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Kuhn, Pola, "The Role of the CIB1 Protein in Mechanosensory Hair Cell Development and Regeneration in Danio Rerio" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 109.