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Poster (Campus Access Only)


The molecular processes underlying the control of external stimuli on development of the reproductive system remain to be understood. The Transient Receptor Potential superfamily of proteins (TRPs) consists of cation channels that respond to external stimuli and are abundant in the somatosensory as well as reproductive systems. Mammalian TRP-Melastatin 3 (TRPM3) channels are activated by heat and the neurosteroid pregnenolone. Here we characterize an ortholog of TRPM3 in the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed-TRPM3). Smed-TRPM3 was hypothesized to play a role in germline development due to enriched expression in the reproductive system of sexual planarians. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that Smed-TRPM3 is preferentially expressed in planarian testes and ovaries. Functional analysis by RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that Smed-TRPM3 promotes spermatogenesis, as sexual Smed-TRPM3(RNAi) planarians had fewer and less-developed testes compared to control knockdowns. Asexual Smed-TRPM3(RNAi) animals had fewer nanos+ clusters compared to controls which may indicate that the observed spermatogenesis defects are due to the loss of male germline stem cells. We hypothesize that Smed-TRPM3 responds to the hormone pregnenolone to ultimately regulate gonad development. Alternatively, Smed-TRPM3 may be regulating reproductive development in response to temperature.

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Developmental Biology

Colleges & Schools

Science and Mathematics


Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor Name

Labib Rouhana

Characterization of a Conserved Transient Receptor Potential Channel Required for Spermatogenesis in Planarian Flatworms