Document Type

Honors Project

Publication Date



The freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata is best known as the intermediate host to Schistosoma mansoni, a parasitic worm that causes the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis. Because of its role as a host to a parasite, the snail can be used as a model organism to study conserved, immune-related pathways and proteins that may be involved in defense of parasite infection. One complex of proteins under investigation isnuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer (NF-kB), an evolutionarily conserved family of transcription factors that are primarily known for their function in vertebrate immunity and, more recently, processes related to the nervous system. While NF-kBhas been identified in adult B. glabrata, there are no studies examining NF-kBlocalizationduring the snail’s embryonic development. In invertebrates, several studies suggest that NF-kBis a key component in developmental processes, making it plausible that B. glabrata utilizes the transcription factor early in its lifespan. The combinationof NF-kBcharacterization in adult B. glabrataand evidence of this transcription factor’s involvement in the developmental phases of several species of invertebrates ledme to hypothesize that NF-kBis present and playing an active role during the embryonic stages of B. glabrata. In confirmation of this hypothesis, this study presents novelevidenceofNF-kBlocalization during B. glabrataembryonic development using immunofluorescence and western blotting.

Level of Honors

magna cum laude




Judith Humphries

Available for download on Friday, June 10, 2022