Exploring the Role of xCT in Neurore-generation through Laser Ablation of Zebrafish Neurons

Student Author(s)

Nicole Ladd

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Brent Krueger, Dr. Leah Chase, and Dr. Aaron Putzke

Document Type


Event Date



System xc– is a heterodimeric amino acid transporter comprised of a light chain unit, xCT, which confers the transport specificity, and a heavy chain unit, 4F2hc. System xc– has been shown to facilitate the exchange of intracellular glutamate for extracellular cystine, which is rapidly reduced within the cell to cysteine, the limiting reagent for glutathione (GSH) production. GSH is an endogenous reducing reagent that is important in mitigating the oxidative stress that, untreated, can trigger cell death. It has been shown that system xc– is strongly expressed in the central nervous system, particularly in activated neuroprotective cells such as astrocytes and glia. It is believed that relief of oxidative stress in the environment of neurons and their protective counterparts is critical in processes such as neuroregeneration. The thrust of the current study is to identify the role that xCT plays in neuroregeneration in vivo using femtosecond laser ablation to initiate apoptosis, followed by neuroregeneration. Initial results will be presented including expression patterns of the xCT gene in developing zebrafish and preliminary examples of laser ablation.


Research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF RUI #0843564 and NSF RUI #1058981). This research was supported in part by an award to Hope College from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Undergraduate Science Education Program.

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