Barx2 is a homeobox transcription factor linked to cell adhesion, motility, and tumorigenic potential. In the developing chick embryo, the over expression of Barx2 is used to determine genes responsible for its function. Literature has indicated that in certain cells, Barx2 induces expression of cadherin-6, collagen type 2, estrogen receptor alpha and matrix metalloproteinase 9(MMP) and these were chosen to be monitored for expression where Barx2 was overexpressed. Electroporation of Barx2 into the developing embryo promotes overexpression and expression of these genes were detected by performing immunofluorescence. Immunofluorescence has not indicated the endogenous expression of cadherin-6 or collagen type 2 alpha, and further experiments are pending. Immunofluorescence for the presence of the estrogen receptor and the MMP’s will be done, as these are indicated to be upregulated by Barx2 and are associated with the invasive and metastatic characteristics of certain types of cancer.
Faculty Mentor: Merritt Taylor, Biomedical Science