Investigation of the Role of Hyaluronan in Neural Crest Cell Migration, Adhesions, and Morphology
Mykyten, Kathryn A.
MetadataShow full item record
Xenopus laevis neural crest cells are a common and useful model for studying cell migration in many contexts, including developmental biology, cancer, and other basic science. This study examines the role hyaluronan (also known as hyaluronic acid or hyaluronate), an extracellular glycosaminoglycan, plays in regulating neural crest cell migration-a critically understudied molecule in this context. Neural crest cell explants were taken from fertilized Xenopus embryos injected with HAS1 and/or HAS2 mRNAs or HAS1 and/or HAS2 translation-blocking morpholinos. The effect of these gain-of-function and loss-of-function injections on hyaluronan secretion was verified by the introduction of a fluorescent reporter, ssGFPG1. The effects of the subsequent gain or loss of function on neural crest migration was investigated via an explant spreading assay. It is expected that HAS upregulation speeds neural crest migration by reducing cell-substrate focal adhesions, though it is also possible that an increase in these adhesions could increase neural crest cell migration speeds. Regardless, any results would further elucidate the role the hyaluronan glycocalyx plays in mediating or disrupting cell adhesions and its impact on cell migration on the whole.