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Molecular and cellular studies on the intestinal regeneration process of the sea cucumber Holothuria glaberrima allows us to understand how cells are rearranged and assembled into a functional organ. Protein kinases c (Pkcs), a superfamily of serine/threonine kinases, have been implicated in a wide range of cellular processes and in the regulation of growth, apoptosis, and differentiation in a variety of cell types. I'm working on the gene expression profile and sequence characterization of at least four Pkc isoforms from regenerating intestine cDNA libraries of H. glaberrima. One of the Pkc isoform shows similarity to the PB1 domain required for the enzymatic activity of atypical Pkcs (identity > 63%). Another three Pkc isoforms show the highest similarity to the C1 activation domain of the classical Pkc isoforms(identity > 46%). All of the Pkcs in the study, three classicals and one atypical isoform, are significantly up-regulated in the regenerating intestine from early to middle stages of regeneration (3- 14 days post-evisceration) compared to normal uneviscerated intestine where its expression is almost negligible. The increase in gene expression coincides with drastic dedifferentiation, intense cellular division, and apoptosis events that take place during early to middle stages of regeneration implicating Pkcs as being key modulators of these processes.
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