Date of Award
Ph.D. in Biological Science
The glial cells missing (gcm) gene has been identified as a "master regulator" of glial cell fate in the fruit fly Drosophila . However, the gcm gene is also expressed in and required for the development of larval macrophages and tendon cells, and lamina neurons in the adult CNS. Thus, the Gcm protein activates the transcription of different sets of genes in different developmental contexts. How the Gcm protein regulates these different outcomes is not known. My long-term goal is to identify proteins that collaborate with Gcm to promote the transcriptional activation of Gcm target genes specifically in glial cells, or prevent their activation in the other tissues in which Gcm is expressed. To address this, I have focused on the transcriptional regulation of a well-characterized glial-specific Gcm target gene, the transcription factor reversed polarity (repo) . One of my aims is to understand how the transcription of the glial-specific Gcm target gene repo is regulated by Gcm and other factors. In 2005, Lee and Jones defined a 4.3 kb cis-regulatory DNA region that recapitulates the endogenous Repo expression pattern dependent on a single Gcm binding site. Within that region, are three different cis-regulatory elements that drive cell-specific expression independent of Gcm binding sites: 1) A distal element that promotes expression in dorsolateral epidermis; 2) A repressor element that suppresses expression in the epidermis; 3) A proximal element that promotes expression in a subset of cell body glia. Using lacZ reporter activity in transgenic lines I have further characterized these elements and defined minimal sequences required for expression or repression. Additionally, I have attempted to identify interacting factors using genetic, biochemical and bioinformatic approaches.
Johnson, Robert, "Characterization of Cis-Regulatory Elements Controlling Repo Transcription in Drosophila Melanogaster" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 152.