Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Crawford, Michael J


Biological sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Plk4, Polarity



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Plk4 is a member of the Polo-like kinase family of cell cycle regulators that has well established roles in the regulation of centrosome duplication, cytokinesis and the DNA damage response in adult cells. Mice with homozygous Plk4 null mutations are embryonic lethal at E7.5 and do not develop somites, notochord nor a proper neural tube. In this study, plk4 was cloned and characterized for expression and function during the embryonic development of Xenopus laevis. Xenopus plk4 is expressed in a diverse number of tissues including the somites, lens and retina. Translational knockdown of plk4 via morpholinos causes perturbations to somitogenesis and precludes lens placode formation by inhibiting cellular elongation in presumptive somite and lens cells. Additionally, centrosome polarity is not established in somitic cells. These results point to a role for plk4 in the establishment of cellular polarity during development and highlight its multi-functionality.