Date of Award

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Biological Science


Dr. H. Bobby Fokidis


The endocrine system in vertebrates responds to stress by releasing steroid hormones, mainly glucocorticoids (GC), which increase blood glucose levels to supply key organs and muscles with energy needed for survival. Steroid hormones are synthesized via an enzymatic pathway that converts cholesterol into either GCs, androgens, or estrogens in a step-wise manner. The adrenal cortex is known to produce GCs, but evidence suggests that individual organs can also produce steroid hormones de novo in response to stress. This study aims to quantify gene expression of four steroidogenic enzymes, encoded by CYP19A1, CYP17A1, StAR, and HSD17ß3 genes, via qRT-PCR to determine if the stress of fasting in Anolis sagrei (brown anole) increases local steroidogenesis in comparison to fed organisms. RNA extraction protocol as well as CYP17A1 and StAR primer concentrations for qRT-PCR were optimized, paving the way for successful quantification of steroidogenic enzyme gene expression in the brown anole. In the future, this quantification could establish the variability of expression of these genes, not only amongst organs, but also between stressed and non-stressed organisms.

Rights Holder

Ada Spahija