Biology ETDs

Publication Date



The transcriptional regulation of muscle development involves several complex processes that must work together in order to form functional, syncytial muscle cells. However, when transcription is mis-regulated, muscle development is often times negatively affected and can lead to muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cardiac myopathies. In order to gain more insight into how transcription is regulated, I use Drosophila melanogaster as a model for understanding muscle development. In chapter one, I use a traditional genetic screen to phenotypically and molecularly identify two Hox co-factors, extradenticle and homothorax, that have the ability to change muscle identity. Additionally, in chapter two, through the identification of a mechanism, I identify a gene critical in adult myoblast fusion and is directly regulated by the transcription factor, Myocyte Enhancer Factor-2 (MEF2). Lastly, in chapter three a computation approach is used to discover new potential co-factor binding sites that may work in conjunction with MEF2 in transcriptional muscle regulation. Together, these results provide new information into how muscle is transcriptionally regulated during different stages of development.




Drosophila melanogaster, muscle development, genetic algorithm, myocyte enhancer factor-2, myoblast fusion, entropy, transcriptional regulation

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Degree Name


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Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Stricker, Stephen

Second Committee Member

Johnston, Christopher

Third Committee Member

Moses, Melanie