Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Neuroprotection during Acute Hyperthermic Stress: Role of the PKG Pathway in Neurons and Glia in the Protection of Neural Function in Drosophila melanogaster
by Krill, Jennifer, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2018, 239; 10809769
Abstract (Summary)

The human brain functions within a narrow range of temperatures and variations outside of this range incur cellular damage and death and, ultimately, death of the organism. Other organisms, like the poikilotherm Drosophila melanogaster, have adapted mechanisms to maintain brain function over wide ranges in temperature and, if exposed to high temperatures where brain function is no longer supported, these animals enter a protective coma to promote survival of the organism once the acute temperature stress is alleviated.

This research characterized the role of different neuronal cell types, including glia, in the protection of brain function during acute hyperthermia, specifically looking at two protective pathways: the heat shock protein (HSP) pathway and the cGMP-dependent protein kinase G (PKG) pathway. Whole animal behavioral assays were used in combination with tissue-specific genetic manipulation of protective pathways to determine the specific cell types sufficient to confer protection of neuronal function during acute hyperthermia. Using the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) preparation, calcium imaging techniques were combined with pharmacological and genetic manipulations to test the hypothesis that alterations in ion channel conductance via endogenous mechanisms regulating the cellular response to high temperature stress alter neuronal function.

Expression of foraging RNAi to inhibit PKG expression in neurons or glia demonstrated protection of function during acute hyperthermia measured behaviorally through the extension of locomotor function. This extension of function with the tissue-specific inhibition of PKG was also confirmed at the cellular level using the genetically encoded calcium indicator (GECI), GCaMP3, to image calcium dynamics at the NMJ, where preparations expressing foraging RNAi could continue to elicit changes in calcium dynamics in response to stimulation. Over the course of this study, the mechanism underlying a novel glial calcium wave in the peripheral nervous system was characterized in order to elucidate glia’s role in the protection of neuronal function during acute hyperthermia.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dawson-Scully, Ken
Commitee: Godenschwege, Tanja, Milton, Sarah, Murphey, Rodney, Prentice, Howard
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Molecular biology, Neurosciences, Physiology
Keywords: Calcium imaging, Drosophila melanogaster, Glia, Hyperthermia, Neuroprotection, PKG
Publication Number: 10809769
ISBN: 9780438013070
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