Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Developmental Biology


Dr. Jamie Kramer


The SWI/SNF complex is an evolutionarily conserved ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling complex that has been implicated in the aetiology of intellectual disability (ID). Among the dominant ID genes, the SWI/SNF complex is the most highly enriched protein complex. However, its role in the nervous system is not yet understood. I systematically investigated the role of this complex in the development of the Drosophila mushroom body (MB), a complex brain structure required for learning and memory. Gross MB morphology was assessed using confocal microscopy to identify morphological defects following RNAi-mediated knockdown of the 15 individual SWI/SNF genes in the MB. Knockdown of several SWI/SNF genes resulted in morphological abnormalities that suggest a role for this protein complex in axon remodelling. These findings reveal a novel role for the SWI/SNF complex in axon development and pave the way for understanding the underlying gene regulatory mechanisms.