September 4, 2018

Dustin Wcisel (North Carolina State University)

Transcriptional response of immunoglobulin domain-containing innate immune receptors

Differences in genomic sequence between and within species are often manifested at chromosomal regions that encode gene families which function in the recognition of pathogens. The zebrafish has proven to be a highly useful model for the study of human disease; however, differences between the number and combinations of immune related genes between each individual’s genome are commonly disregarded. The goal of this project is to use these differences to identify conserved and diversified immune genes in the zebrafish genome. A vast wealth of information on zebrafish genes and their expression differences is available via public databases, but because of the complexity of comparing large datasets, little effort has gone into describing their differences. In this project, we will select and analyze numerous publicly available zebrafish gene expression studies with a focus on cataloging highly conserved and diverse immune receptors that respond to infection. By combining datasets, we will be able to differentiate conserved responses from biased responses observed on the single experiment level. Through this project, a novel publicly available database will be created that links zebrafish gene sequence to functional response as measured by infection-induced changes in gene expression. Furthering our understanding of immune genes in zebrafish will facilitate our ability to test hypotheses regarding the evolutionary pressures and processes that shape immune gene diversity within any species, including human.