Understanding Transcriptional Dynamics in Embryos


Drosophila embryo


Live Imaging & Chromatin Accessibility tools


MS2 brain markers facilitate real-time visualization of Opa/Oc transcriptional dynamics. Regulatory regions control spatiotemporal expression of brain genes. E.g., the Oc-bound hb_late enhancer (VT38545) drives transcriptional activity in brain primordial progenitor cells, (A,B). Transgenes containing MS2 gene fragments under regulatory control of these enhancers can be used to detect the transcriptional dynamics of these enhancers. 



It is unclear how the genome is rapidly transformed from a transcriptionally inactive state to a transcriptionally active one at different developmental stages and in different cell types in the Drosophila embryo. Chromatin accessibility has an impact on how transcription factors interact with available regulatory elements. Once chromatin is active, specific DNA sequences (enhancers) are accessible for binding by proteins that regulate gene expression. 


We aim to understand how accessibility adds a further dimension to the complex regulatory network that drives development and cell fate.  In order to understand the dynamics of Transcription Factors we are intergrading genetics and molecular biology with whole-genome profiling and state of the art live imaging microscopy. Image quantification and computational analysis are also important aspects of our research.