Molecules of fatal attraction : biology of parasite-induced changes in host production
Yeow, William Wen Wang
Date of Issue2016
School of Biological Sciences
Studies showed that Toxoplasma gondii can alter rat behaviour to increase its chances of being transmitted to its definitive host by reducing rat avoidance towards cats. Several mechanisms have been hypothesized for this phenomenon and the mechanism focused in this project is the AVP gene in medial amygdala. Studies show that T. gondii infection causes an increase in testosterone level, leading to hypomethylation of the AVP gene, which causes behavioural change. Therefore, three gRNAs were designed to induce knockout of the AVP promoter 1 in rats and their efficiency tested. To identify the efficiency and ability of each gRNA, mismatch assay and agarose gel electrophoresis were performed. Results showed that there were no cutting of the target gene, indicating that the gRNAs did not induce DNA breakage that will lead to NHEJ, which will result in mismatch bases in the targeted region. Hence, it is speculated that the designed gRNAs are not suitable for inducing knockout of the target gene. Therefore, more gRNAs need to be designed and optimized in order to achieve higher efficiency. Nevertheless, this project is important for the development of future studies on the importance of AVP in rat behavioural changes caused by T. gondii.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University