Cross Species Comparison of Fer kinase Regulated Gene Expression in Vertebrates (C. elegans) and Invertebrates (Zebrafish and Humans)

Student Author(s)

Matthew Harder

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aaron Putzke


Drs. Jeff MacKeigan and Mary Winn, Van Andel Institute

Document Type


Event Date



The Caenorhabditis elegans protein FRK-1, an ortholog to Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and mammalian Fer kinase, is critical to the proper embryonic and larval development. In humans, aberrant Fer kinase levels have also been implicated in the progression of leukemia and prostate cancer. In addition to roles in the formation of the hypodermis in C. elegans, FRK-1 has been shown to localize to the nucleus in a cell-cycle dependent manner and regulates cell proliferation (Putzke et al, 2005, 2010). This localization has led us to hypothesize that FRK-1, and its ortholog Fer kinase, are involved in the regulation of transcription factors during development. To discover potential gene targets regulated by Fer kinase activity, we performed microarray analysis in nematodes, Zebrafish and human cells in the absence of Fer/FRK-1. Currently, we seek to identify common responses in key conserved pathways to determine more about the development of C. elegans and Danio rerio, and to identify potential therapeutic gene targets for treatment in human cancers.


This research was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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