Biology ETDs

Publication Date



Muscle is a highly conserved and specialized tissue in animals. Failure of proper muscle patterning, maintenance and stability in animals can have variety of consequences for the individual. Mutations in loci that control muscle can result in death during embyogenesis, dysmorphism, and/or reduced lifespan after progressive muscle degeneration (Emery 2002, Mathews and Moore 2003, Amato and Griggs 2011). Muscle defects, such as these, have origins ranging from improper transcriptional control to direct sequence disruptions in proteins that play a wide variety of roles in the cell (Emery 2002, Mathews and Moore 2003, Amato and Griggs 2011). Thus, out of this disorder, comes the opportunity to elucidate the role(s) of individual players and interactions required to build a molecular portrait of normal, functional muscle. Here in, are presented three studies carried out in the Drosophila model in an effort to explore some of these required genetic elements of muscle and the role that their resultant expression cooperates in order to build and sustain normal, healthy muscle: 1) Bithorax complex control of alary (cardiac support) muscle patterning during embryogenesis 2) a novel structural support function identified for a common ubiquitin ligase (thin/Trim32 ortholog) acting in myofibril stability 3) developmental delay and sex-lethality found during re-evaluation of a vinculin (cell adhesion/migration/myofibril stability complex component) resulting from a chromosomal inversion mutant.

Project Sponsors

National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Initiative to Maximize Diversity -University of New Mexico




muscle development cell biology genetics drosophila muscular dystrophy dorsal vessel

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Werner-Washburne, Margaret

Second Committee Member

Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina

Third Committee Member

Geisbrecht, Erika

Included in

Biology Commons