Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Professor Hadley Horch, PhD


The adult auditory system of the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, exhibits a rare example of neuronal plasticity. Upon deafferentation, we observe medial dendrites that normally respect the midline of the PTG in the central nervous system sprouting across the boundary and forming synaptic connections with the contralateral auditory afferents. The Horch Lab has investigated key molecular factors that might play a causal role in this paradigm. Specifically, the protein Sema1a.2 comes from a guidance molecule family and has a role in developmental neuronal plasticity in other organisms. In this study, I explored the role of Sema1a.2 in the neuronal plasticity of the adult auditory system of the cricket by conducting a series of dsRNA knockdown experiments targeting Sema1a.2 followed by backfill procedures in which we iontophoresed dye into the Ascending Neurons (ANs) to visualize the anatomical effects of the knockdown experiments using confocal microscopy. We found that there were no significant differences between animals injected with dsRNA against GFP and Sema1a.2 volume, with respect to qualitative and quantitative data. However, we believe with an increase in cohort size, the trends observed, particularly the effect of Sema1a.2 knockdowns on CWM and CBM volumes, will become more pronounced and significant. Potential future pathways could include conducting double knockdowns of Sema1a.2 and Sema2a to observe if these two proteins are working together to create a more obvious effect on midline crossing and branching. Other options also include looking into other protein families that might be the causing factor in this rare phenomenon (toll-like receptors).