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Title: Characterisation of a novel transcription factor, DMEF2, expressed in the mesoderm of Drosophila melanogaster
Author: Beatty, K. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
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In vertebrate embryos, members of the myocyte enhancer-binding factor 2 (MEF2) family of transcription factors are expressed at high levels in the skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle lineages. MEF2 proteins are important regulators of muscle gene expression, and activate transcription through an AT-rich sequence found in the control regions of many muscle-specific genes. Four mef2 genes have been characterised to date, and further diversity within the family is created by the production of multiple protein isoforms from a single mef2 gene via alternative splicing. I present the initial characterisation of the single mef2 gene found in Drosophila, Dmef2. Dmef2 is expressed throughout the mesodermal primordium prior to gastrulation, and is subsequently expressed in both the segregating primordia and differentiated cells of the somatic, visceral and heart musculature. Dmef2 produces at least four distinct protein isoforms via alternative splicing. I have used the GAL4 targeted expression system to analyse the role of individual DMEF2 isoforms during mesoderm differentiation. Each DMEF2 isoform can perform the same functions during embryogensis, however, they exhibit different levels of activity. Overexpression of Dmef2 within the mesoderm results in abnormalities in the somatic musculature, the dorsal vessel and the visceral musculature, indicating that the level of Dmef2 expressed in the mesoderm is critical for the proper formation of these tissues. Furthermore, within the three myogenic lineages, the threshold level of DMEF2 activity required for differentiation is not uniform. Ectopic expression of Dmef2 within the ectoderm activates the expression of the muscle marker myosin within the epidermis and impairs the ability of epidermal cells to express a true epidermal fate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available