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Conservation of the structure and function of genes regulating development of the peripheral nervous system in insects


Research objectives and content
achaete and scute encode bHLH transcription factors, and confer neural potential to cells. In Drosophila they are expressed in specific stereotyped sites, where each of the sensory bristles of the peripheral nervous system are formed. Several negatively and positively acting upstream regulators acting through specific cis-regulatory enhancer sequences ensure the spatial pattern of achaete and scute. My purpose is to study the structure and expression of achaete and scute homologues in a primitive insect, Oncopeltus fasciatus. Here the bristle pattern is extremely simple, consisting of spaced and randomly positioned bristles. For such a pattern it is not necessary to postulate numerous upstream regulators nor complex regulatory sequences. I aim to isolate homologues of achaete and scute as well as some of the upstream regulators and examine their expression patterns by in situ hybridisation.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
In the general environment of the IGBMC, I expect to gain a broad scientific culture. From the host group I will learn the main concepts of developmental biology, molecular biology and genetics. Collaborations with the groups of Juan Modolell in Madrid (CEE network no. ERBCHRX-CT94-0692) and groups working in nervous system development in birds and fish (CEE network no. ERB-FMRX-CT96-0065) will further extend my training. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)

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