Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Carlos Molina

Committee Member

Chunguang Du

Committee Member

John Gaynor


Zebra danio, Ovaries, Repressors, Genetic


Infertility, according to the World Health Organization, is defined as the failure to conceive after twelve months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. A recent study measuring the prevalence of female infertility estimated that 48.5 million women were affected globally (World Health Organization). To even begin to understand infertility is a colossal undertaking. Before we can hope to cure this disorder in humans we must first understand its pathogenesis in animal models. For this purpose, a study will be undertaken in zebrafish, Danio rerio, a popular model organism for reproductive studies (Segner, 2009). Based on a previous study in mouse models the ICER (inducible cAMP early repressor) protein has been identified as a potentiator of hyperovulation in mice (Muñiz). The ICER protein is an inducible early repressor of the cAMP second messenger system and a dominant negative autoregulator of its own expression (Molina, 1993). Based on the results of the Muñiz study, the present research will focus on the expression of ICER in zebrafish ovaries. First, it was proven via protein and RNA expression analysis that ICER is expressed in a stage-dependent manner in the zebrafish ovary during folliculogenesis. Next, based on this expression profiling, an ICER plasmid vector was designed with ICER under the control of the cyp19a1 ovarian-specific promoter. Cyp19a1 is a gonadotropin and estrogen inducible promoter predominantly expressed in the zebrafish ovary (Kazeto, 2001). This plasmid vector can be utilized in the future, in conjunction with the Tol2 transposase system in zebrafish, to study the effects of ICER overexpression in the ovary and hopefully elucidate some further understanding of the causes and pathology of infertility as well as possible treatment scenarios (Kawakami, 2007).

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