2023 30 B2

Synaptic Protein Localization in the Prenatal Development of the Rod Photoreceptor Cell and Its Changes in the Leucoraja erinacea Retina

By: Beatriz Rubio

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ivan A. Anastassov

The retina of the northeastern Pacific batoid, Leucoraja erinacea, is composed of only rod photoreceptor cells. These cells represent one of the main components for visual communication and accurate information exchange (transduction) between photoreceptor cells to higher brain centers. Such processes are needed for a proper visual experience. Furthermore, every synapse of the visual system requires specific transduction proteins to function. Yet, there is little information about the specific morphology of the retina’s photoreceptive rod cells during embryonic development or the transduction of protein expressions. In order to understand such development, I propose to build a chronological study on the morphology of the rod cells in embryo; and, to develop a timeline of transduction protein expression during the late stages of the embryo. My research will collect retina samples of the prenatal (n) late stages of L. erinacea (Stages n29 to n33) and build an organized histology that shows the morphological changes during development of rod cells. Additionally, I will use in-situ hybridization to detect transduction proteins and \define their initial expression. In doing so, my research will contribute to a better understanding of the changes in embryonic development and how these differ from those shown in evolutionary developmental biology.