For the nervous system to develop properly, axons must connect neurons into networks by navigating to their target destinations. A large proportion of genes containing extracellular Leucine-Rich Repeats (eLRRs) function in neurodevelopment, including in axon guidance. The objective of this thesis is to identify novel eLRR genes in the Caenorhabditis elegans' lron and iglr gene families that function in axon guidance. Animals with mutations in these genes were observed with pan-neuronal and pioneer markers to identify mutations that induced axon guidance defects. Six mutants had significant axon guidance defects. In addition, iglr-2 mutants were found to have fasciculation defects in the left ventral nerve cord. lron-11 mutants had the most penetrant axon guidance defects. Therefore, lron-11 animals were further characterized with several inter and motor neuron markers and further axon guidance defects were identified. This research suggests that lron-11 and possibly other lron/iglr genes function as receptors in axon guidance.
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Thesis advisor: Hutter, Harald
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