Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Science


Dr. Angela V. Klaus

Committee Member

Dr. Ziping Zhang

Committee Member

Dr. Allan Blake


The Drosophila genus contains thousands of different species. Drosophila melanogaster is the most popular Drosophila species used in biological research. Drosophila pseudoobscura is the model Drosophila species used in our laboratory and is a distant relative to D. melanogaster. Both of these species' genetic codes have been completely sequenced and are very different from each other genetically and morphologically. One major morphological difference between these two species is their testes structure. The testes of D. melanogaster are long, coiled, thin tube-like structures; D. pseudoobscura testes are wide and ellipsoidaL The focus of the current work was to characterize the apical end of D. pseudoobscura testes (which plays a pivotal role in the initiation of spermatogenesis) using antibodies available for the D. melanogaster testes. Using immunofluorescence techniques, we have characterized D. pseudoobscura adherent proteins in a specific region termed "the hub" responsible for maintaining the cells associated with the stem cell niche, using antibodies raised against the hub proteins in D. melanogaster. The hub proteins probed were fasciclin III, DE-cadherin and armadillo. Fasciclin III is a glycoprotein that is associated with adhering cells together within the central nervous system and other tissues, including the testis hub. DE-cadherin and armadillo are specifically associated with the stem cell niche of Drosophila species and serve to adhere the cells within the structure. In addition, we have characterized the ultrastructure of the seminal vesicles of D. pseudoobscura and have attempted to interpret the processes that occur in the storage and post-spermatogenesis maturation of Drosophila sperm cells.

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