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URA Archive
Scholars 2009 - 2010

Mikhael Bekkerman

Mikhael Bekkerman, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
“Developmental Occurrence of Solitary Chemosensory Cells in the Airway of Mice”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Weihong Lin
Expected Graduation Date: May 2010


Solitary Chemosensory Cells (SCC’s) have been speculated to play a role in signaling environmental stimuli and evoking protective reflexes such as coughing and sneezing, designed to flush foreign particles out of the body. Recent studies from our lab demonstrate that solitary chemosensory cells, specifically those expressing a transient receptor potential channel M5 (TRPM5), are involved in sensing chemical irritants. Our aim is to reveal how TRPM5 expressing cells develop over a time in newborn and adolescent mice. By using immunohistochemical protocols, we will be observing cell densities of SCC’s expressing TRPM5 in the airway of mice. Data will be gathered and analyzed from 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks old mice that transgenically express a green fluorescence protein (GFP) to identify the presence of solitary chemosensory cells. In completion of the experiment, we will understand the points in time when mice begin reacting to noxious chemical odorants.