Wow! That is a great hypothesis. You are
correct in thinking that cilia are an important
part of clearing respiratory pathogens, such as
Bordetella pertussis, from the body. Bordetella
pertussis is typically inhaled. It then attaches
to the respiratory epithelium, which is ciliated.
The bacterium then injects a toxin into the
epithelial cells that prevents the cilia from
moving and eventually kills these epithelial
cells. This is important because the beating of
the cilia is what moves the mucus (and anything
trapped in it like bacteria) out of the body. If
the cilia stop moving then Bordetella can hang out
in the respiratory tract and grow there.
Your project is very complex. I definitely
would not suggest growing Bordetella on your own
and I am not aware of any particular chemical that
would stimulate growth of cilia on epithelial
cells. Prior to thinking about the materials you
need, I might suggest thinking of how you would
set up this experiment. What are you looking at
specifically? What would that result look like?
What will you be measuring to determine whether
your hypothesis is supported? And how would you
set up the experiment? What controls would you
use? What you propose may not be as simple to
carry out experimentally at home.
You may also want to think about the
implications of increasing ciliation on epithelial
cells. If you increase the number of cilia, would
the cell have enough energy to cause efficient
movement of the cilia? Say the cells are able to
move the increased number of cilia. That would
increase the removal of mucus by the epithelium.
Would production of mucus be able to keep up with
removal of mucus? If not, then protection of the
respiratory epithelium might actually decrease.
I can tell that you are a very bright scientist
in the making! Keep thinking!
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