A Biological Approach for Obtaining Quantitative Data to Mathematically Model Transcriptional Regulation in Drosophila melanogaster



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ABSTRACT Understanding the genetic control of development is both important and exciting because it has the potential to lead us to revolutionary discoveries that could provide advancements in numerous fields such as molecular biology, immunology, and the study of transcriptionally related diseases such as HPV. Drosophila melanogaster is a widely used animal model for studying the biological processes of development. It has a rapid maturation process and produces many offspring, making them easy to observe, especially during development. Early stages in Drosophila development and other multicellular organisms include critical events that lead to the differentiation of cells and eventually proper tissue and organ development in the adult stage. A complex network of genes, transcription factors and cis-regulatory modules controls these events. These modules could provide very important information about To determine the mechanisms underlying regulation of gene transcription, other investigators take apart predicted enhancer and transcription factor binding sites (a top-down model). In contrast, I am attempting to build from the bottom-up using a mathematical approach. I am using 10 different DNA constructs that were designed to represent single activator binding sites, as well as activator and repressor binding site pairs. My approach involves using MATLAB, along with basic biological assumptions and predictions, to model these complex binding events. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a model that can be used to compare biologically obtained data. Using this data we can then refine the mathematical model to more accurately represent transcription factor binding in the early stages of D. melanogaster.



activator, enhancer, transcriptional regulation, transcription, Drosophila melanogaster