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Investigation of Septins In Drosophila Melanogaster

Septins are relatively under-researched binding proteins that play important roles in the development and physiology of cells in most organisms.  Septin proteins are known to support the cytoskeleton of cells, mainly the microtubules and actin filaments, aiding in process such as cell division, cell-cell adhesion, and membrane trafficking.  Through my investigation of septins in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, I aimed to determine and film with a confocal scanning microscope the location of an important septin, Septin 2, and how the lack of another septin, Septin 4, would affect cells.  These experiments were performed on the embryos of Drosophila melanogaster flies during the process of germ band extension, a period of rapid cell division where the body segments of the fly begins to form.  Through my experiment, I was able to determine the location of Septin 2 within the cells, being widely spread throughout the cell, though being particularly focused in the membrane of each cell.  I also discovered that cells that lack Septin 4 also have a greatly decreased amount of Rab35 puncta, a grouping of developmental proteins found near the surface of the cell.  This has led me to believe that septins play an important role in keeping the structural integrity or the development of Rab35 puncta.  This project allowed me to learn important laboratory techniques, deepen my knowledge of the development of cells, and discover what role septins play in that development.