Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chairperson

Erin Gestl, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jessica Sullivan-Brown, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gustave Mbuy, Ph.D.


Translesion synthesis (TLS), a mechanism that tolerates DNA damage, incorporates specialized DNA polymerases during replication that bypass specific lesions on the leading strand. Polymerase η, one of these specialized polymerases, is recruited to the replication fork to bypass thymine-thymine dimers. In order to further examine the role of Pol η during the process of TLS, a zebrafish model organism was used to determine how UV light affects apoptosis. Apoptosis was quantified with an acridine orange assay, and additional knock-down effects of pol η were explored with customized morpholinos via altered splicing. Overall, the custom morpholinos functioned as expected and apoptosis quantification displayed elevated fluorescence among zebrafish embryos treated with acridine orange and UV light.