Fer Kinase is Required for Hematopoietic Development in Zebrafish
Dr. Aaron Putzke, Hope College
Fer kinase, a protein involved in the regulation of cell-cell adhesion and proliferation, has been implicated in leukemia, gastric cancer, and liver cancer. However, the role Fer plays in the molecular mechanisms of these diseases is largely unknown. By studying the role that Fer plays during development, we hope to obtain a better understanding of its involvement in carcinogenesis. Our lab has shown that FRK-1, a Fer kinase homologue in C. elegans, is involved in stem cell regulation. In this project, we begin to bridge the gap between the invertebrate and vertebrate realms by elucidating the role that Fer kinase plays in zebrafish embryogenesis. Our data indicate that not only is a Fer homologue expressed during zebrafish embryogenesis, but that it is also required for normal hematopoiesis. These results have led us to hypothesize a novel role for Fer as a regulator of either definitive hematopoiesis or the Runx1 pathway.
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