2023 18 B1

Uncovering the Role of Jagunal in Neurogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster

By: Maria Lourdes Mendoza Aragon

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Blake Riggs

Cell division is an important occurrence in life and is essential for the creation of all multicellular organisms. Although we understand how cells divide during mitosis, it is still unknown how cells adopt their cell fate and become specialized cells. Recent studies have shown that Jagunal (Jagn), an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) transmembrane protein, is a potential regulator for cell fate differentiation. It was found that Jagn plays a role in asymmetric cell division of the ER during mitosis in early Drosophila embryogenesis. Preliminary data shows that Jagn-deficient larval brains display a shift towards stemness with an over proliferation of neuroblast. This leads us to test how Jagn is involved in neurogenesis. We hypothesize that Jagn plays an important role in cell differentiation allowing for cell fate determinants to orient properly which is necessary in early brain development in Drosophila. In order to do this, we conduct an experiment to see if Jagn is necessary in the development of the drosophila larval ventral nerve cord (VNC) as well as a functional brain. Our results show that Jagn-deficient 3rd instar larva carry a small brain size phenotype compared to the wildtype. Future direction will focus on staining for the brains to investigate if Jagn plays a role in regulating the correct partitioning of cell fate determinants that are involved in cell fate differentiation.