Sivapratha Nagappan Chettiar L&S Sciences
The Role of PTEN Tumor Suppressor Gene in Regulating the Elimination of Neural Stem Cells in Drosophila
Neurogenesis, the production of new neurons, occurs via the asymmetrical division of neural stem cells in specific regions of the mammalian and Drosophila brain. It is a highly regulated process as proper neuron type and number is crucial to allow the proper formation and functioning of the brain. In Drosophila brain, much is known about the pathways that regulate asymmetric cell division. However, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate its termination. In PTEN tumor suppressor gene mutants, neural stem cells aberrantly persist in the brain of adult Drosophila. My research aims at determining the role of PTEN in regulating the elimination of neural stem cells in Drosophila. It is hypothesized that PTEN mutants have aberrantly persistent neural stem cells because the insulin pathway is no longer being antagonized. Understanding the role of PTEN is significant because mutations of this gene are found in cancer patients such as those with glioblastoma.