Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Determining the role of twist1b and twist2 in Zebrafish Tendon Development

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Nicole Glenn

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


The mesoderm is one of the three layers seen in embryonic development. It gives rise to connective tissues, blood, bone, cartilage, and muscle. The mesoderm includes three different sections, the one of interest in this study is the paraxial mesoderm which gives rise to the musculoskeletal system. Somites are portions of the paraxial mesoderm on either side of the neural crest in an embryo. The sclerotome is a sub-compartment of the somite from which the axial skeleton is made, however this process is not well understood (Williams, 2019). twist1b and twist 2 are two genes that are thought to be important in the decision-making process of a paraxial mesoderm cell’s fate, making it either a bone or a tendon cell. Scleraxis, scx, is a transcription factor that is a marker of tendon progenitor cells (Ramkumar et al, 2020). TGF is a signaling pathway that is involved in the development of tendons (Havis et al, 2016). This signaling pathway has been shown to increase SCX expression (Havis et al, 2016). The hypothesis at the start of this project was that twist1b and twist2 are vital in determining the fate of cells in the sclerotome. The expressions of scx, tgf3 and tgf,markers for the TGF signalling pathway were tested in wild type zebrafish as well as in zebrafish which had been injected with either a twist1b or twist2 morpholino to knockdown the specific gene. The insight gained from these results can help explain more about the process of differentiation in tendon cells. This information could then be used to help treat tendon injuries, which have been increasing in recent years (Ramkumar et al, 2020).

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