Biology ETDs

Publication Date



The muscle fiber is a structural unit of skeletal muscle in many organisms. Muscle fiber composition has been implicated in maintaining muscle longevity and controlling systemic energy homeostasis, however not much is known about how different types of muscle fibers are specified. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster provides a useful model to study specification and differentiation of different types of muscle fiber. In this study, the functional properties of the transcription factor blistered (bs) were explored. The gene bs is evolutionarily conserved and has a mammalian homologue, Serum Response Factor (SRF). When bs is genetically down-regulated in all muscles, only a subset of muscles, called Indirect Flight Muscles, is affected and shows immature and disorganized myofibrils. The development of other muscles proceeds normally. To understand the role of bs in the selectivity towards Indirect Flight Muscles, I focus on identification of its targets, potential cofactors and the mechanism that governs fiber differentiation in skeletal muscle. Results suggest bs works in conjunction with pioneer factors, exd and hth, to regulate expression of flight muscle specific Act88F, thus providing a mechanism for flight muscle fiber specification.




Drosophila, bs/SRF, muscle differentiation, muscle fiber type

Document Type


Degree Name

Developmental Biology

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Stricker, Steven

Second Committee Member

Johnston, Christopher