Effect of Heparin Sulfate Deficiency in the Testis and Epididymis - ANAT 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Dr. Carlos Morales

Supervisor's Email: carlos.morales [at] mcgill.ca

Supervisor's Phone: (514) 398-6398

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Anatomy and Cell Biology

Course number: ANAT 396 (Anatomy and Cell Biology)

Term: Fall 2015

Project start date: Friday, September 4, 2015

Project end date: Monday, December 7, 2015

Project title: Effect of Heparin Sulfate Deficiency in the Testis and Epididymis

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Heparan sulfate is a proteoglycan present in the extracellular matrix. It is degraded in lysosomes in a step-wise manner. Several enzymes are related in this process but the absence of one produces a lysosomal storage disease called mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS). The deficiency of heparin α-glucosaminide N-acetyl transferase ( HGSNAT),  results in MPS type 3, also known as Sanfilippo syndrome. This disorder leads to an accumulation of undegraded heparan sulfate in lysosomes that produces a toxicity to cells. Sanfilippo syndrome is a progressive disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord and male reproductive organs. In the seminiferous tubules of mouse testis, Sanfilippo syndrome affects the morphology of Sertoli cells. The objective of this research project is to assess the state of cytokeratin 5 expression, a protein that interfaces via integrins with the extracellular matrix. To tackle this question we will use Hgsnat deficient testis. The testis will be cut and stained with an antibody to cytokeratin 5. Additionally, we will homogenize seminiferous tubules and assess the expression of cytokeratin 5 by Western blot analysis and compare it to control wild type testis. This study will define if the toxicity of proteoglycans affects the expression of cytokeratin 5 in Sertoli cells.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 50% Final Lab Report and 50% Participation

Project status: This project is taken

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves handling chemicals.