Crustacean Myoblast Isolation and Culture
New Harvest Seed Grantee: Daniel Peterson (Currently pursuing a combined BS/MS at Northeastern University in Biotechnology)
Project Start Date: July 2019
Institutes: Northeastern University, Tufts University
Supervisors: Dr. Elizabeth Zulick (Assistant Teaching Professor at Northeastern University)
Lobster is one of the most popular luxury animal products in the American market and has significant growth potential overseas. Lobster range, however, has been affected by shifting climate and fishing pressure (3). Crayfish are another important crustacean and have been growing in popularity as a food source. For this reason, an in vitro solution for crustacean agriculture is a goal worth pursuing. Additionally, immortalized cell lines of these organisms are desirable for various studies which apply to aquaculture. No immortalized cell line from any mollusk has ever been created despite numerous attempts. The goals of this project are to characterize the process required to isolate crustacean myoblasts, observe these cells in primary cell culture and assay their inherent telomerase expression throughout their life cycle. The desired result is an increased understanding of how the goal of in vitro crustacean muscle cell lines may be created and maintained.
The major desired output is to make strides towards the establishment of an immortalized lobster or crayfish cell line. The inherent longevity of stem cells combined with high telomerase expression in decapod muscles will contribute to the characterization of muscle stem cell fractions with promising properties towards this goal. Evaluation of telomerase at different stages of primary culture will contribute to knowledge of the regulation of expression in these cell types.