Date of Award

Summer 7-12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Aaron Roseberry

Second Advisor

Timothy Bartness

Third Advisor

William Walthall


Melanocortins (MCs) play an important role in feeding, metabolism, and energy expenditure. While melanocortin receptor (MCR) mRNA has been found in the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway, the ability of melanocortins to regulate feeding and other behaviors through actions on the mesolimbic DA system have not been examined. Short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) were created targeting MC3R and MC4R and were tested via in vitro studies for their ability to knockdown their target receptor. A total of three shRNAs were created targeting each receptor, and each shRNA caused successful knockdown. These shRNAs are tools that can be used for future in vivo studies to examine the various behavioral effects of melanocortins on the mesolimbic DA pathway.