Characterization of Bves Function in Epithelial Integrity
Osler, Megan Emery
The work contained in this document provides the first description and characterization of Bves, a gene product identified by our laboratory, in epithelial cell types. Studies addressed a central hypothesis that Bves plays a role in epithelial cell-cell interaction and integrity, which is supported by an initial protein distribution analysis at cell membranes in both cells and tissues. Localization, interaction, and functional assays establish that Bves is an essential component of the tight junction complex and interacts with the protein complex containing ZO-1 in epithelial cells. Furthermore, in vivo experiments demonstrate that Bves is clearly important for epithelial morphogenesis during X. laevis development, and establish an excellent model system to perform future studies. This dissertation provides an important contribution to the body of literature on the Bves by defining the essential nature of Bves in epithelial integrity and by providing the groundwork for further examination of how Bves participates in epithelial cell interaction.