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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Molecular & Cellular Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



LBH is a highly conserved protein whose role during vertebrate development is relatively under-studied. In collaboration with the Albertson lab, our lab has previously shown that it is necessary for cranial neural crest cell migration in the zebrafish and in Xenopus laevis. The molecular mechanisms through which it acts are not well understood.

In Xenopus, LBH is a maternally deposited protein. As such, studying its role in early development has not been feasible through the morpholino-mediated knockdown techniques that prevent translation of target genes. Recently, a technique for degrading endogenous proteins was developed, called Trim-Away. This was developed in mammalian systems and utilizes the E3 ubiquitin ligase Trim21 in conjunction with an antibody against a protein of interest in order to degrade the protein. In order to observe the effects of a knockdown of LBH during early embryonic development, we sought to modify the technique for use in Xenopus. We injected embryos with mRNA encoding the human form of trim21 along with a monoclonal antibody against LBH that our lab developed (2B8) and tracked degradation of the protein over time, monitoring embryos for any phenotypes arising during early development.

Our results demonstrate that Trim-Away can be utilized in Xenopus. LBH depleted embryos display a variety of defects during gastrulation, the process by which the three germ layers are properly organized. These appear to be mainly due to defects in fibronectin fibrillogenesis and mesodermal migration.


First Advisor

Helene Cousin

Second Advisor

Dominique Alfandari

Third Advisor

R. Craig Albertson

Movie 2.avi (13327 kB)