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hlh-1 and the C. elegans Body Wall Muscle Transcriptional Differentiation Network


Kuntz, Steven Gregory (2011) hlh-1 and the C. elegans Body Wall Muscle Transcriptional Differentiation Network. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/18XS-YM65.


To understand the structure and function of gene regulatory networks, it is important to first catalogue the components. Measurable constituents of networks include cis-regulatory elements, identified by their conservation and ability to drive expression; transcription factor binding motifs, identified by protein binding; transcription factors, identified by their necessity in network function; and target genes, identified by their conditional expression. The heart of a regulatory network is the transcription factor, which is dedicated to its role in the network. Transcription factors must be activated and regulate downstream targets in a discrete and reproducible fashion. Any deviation in network function may result in the collapse of the network and death of the animal. Thus, a network must be robust enough to function under a variety of biological conditions. However, network redundancies are inefficient in terms of fitness and lost during the course of evolution. The network structure and function reflects these evolutionary realities: strong sequence conservation of cis-regulatory elements coupled with widespread stochastic transcription factor binding, and ancient transcription factor conservation coupled with overlapping activation of targets. The evolution of functional transcription factor networks therefore must be a balance between conservation and flexibility.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:hlh-1; lin-39; ceh-13; Hox cluster; sequence conservation; transcription; muscle differentiation; C. elegans; gene regulatory network; unc-120; RNA-seq; ChIP-seq
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Wold, Barbara J. (co-advisor)
  • Sternberg, Paul W. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Elowitz, Michael B. (chair)
  • Rothenberg, Ellen V.
  • Stathopoulos, Angelike
  • Wold, Barbara J.
  • Sternberg, Paul W.
Defense Date:7 September 2010
Non-Caltech Author Email:kuntz (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10212010-102536869
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6153
Deposited By: Steven Kuntz
Deposited On:02 Apr 2012 19:17
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:36

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