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The roles of vestigial and scalloped in the embryonic muscle development of Drosophila melanogaster Open Access


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Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Deng, Hua
Supervisor and department
John Bell (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Mary Baylies (America, Sloan-Kettering Institute)
Shelagh Campbell (Biological Sciences)
John Locke (Biological Sciences)
Andrew Simmonds (Cell Biology)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Vertebrate development requires the activity of multiple members of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (mef2) gene family for muscle cell specification and subsequent differentiation. Additionally, it is thought that several muscle-specific functions of MEF2 family proteins require binding additional co-factors including members of the Transcription Enhancing Factor-1 (TEF-1) and Vestigial-like protein families. In Drosophila there is a single mef2 (Dmef2) gene as well single homologues of TEF-1 and vestigial-like; sd and vg, respectively. To help clarify the role(s) of these factors, we examined the requirements for Vg and Sd during Drosophila muscle specification. Analysis of loss of Vg or Sd function mutations confirms that both are required for muscle differentiation, as loss of sd or vg leads to a reproducible loss of a subset of cardiac or somatic muscle cells in developing embryos. However, the requirement for Sd or Vg is cell specific, as over-expression of each of these proteins in other muscle cells also has a deleterious effect on muscle differentiation. Finally, I determined that Sd, Vg and Dmef2 can interact directly. Thus, the muscle specific phenotypes associated with loss or ectopic Vg or Sd expression may be a consequence of alternative binding of Vg and Sd to Dmef2 to form alternative protein complexes that modify Dmef2 activity. The somatic muscles of Drosophila develop in a complex pattern that is repeated in each embryonic hemi-segment. Initial communication between somatic muscles and the epidermal tendon cells is critical for formation of this muscle pattern. However, later establishment of attachments between longitudinal muscles at the segmental borders is largely independent of the muscle-epidermal attachment signals, and relatively little is known about how this event is regulated. Here I show that expression of the transcription factor Vg is required in ventral longitudinal muscles (VL1-4) to make them competent to form stable inter-muscular attachments. Further, the cell-specific differentiation events induced by Vg in two muscles fated to form attachments appear to be coordinated by Drosophila Epidermal Growth Factor (DER) signalling.
License granted by Hua Deng ( on 2010-09-30T15:56:51Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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