Aug 5 2020

PhD Dissertation: Lillian Perez

August 5, 2020

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


virtual seminar


Chicago, IL 60612

Lillian Perez will be presenting her PhD defense titled “Regulators of VC Motor Neuron Differentiation and Specification in C. elegans."


Nervous system development is in part regulated by the coordinated action of proneural genes. Classical proneural gene function occurs in the early stages of neurogenesis to promote neural precursor fate from a stem cell. Subsequently, neurodevelopmental stages include the differentiation, maturation, axon branching, and terminal differentiation of a specific neuronal subtype. All neurons pass through these developmental stages to mature and acquire their unique identity in a network of other neurons. This work investigated the role of two conserved, bHLH domain containing transcription factors in nervous system development of the model organism, C. elegans. The ventral cord neurons in C. elegans belong to eight distinct classes and are generated during embryonic and postembryonic development. The ventral cord class C (VCs) make up six out of eight sex-specific motor neurons found in the hermaphrodite. Their subclassification is position-dependent, but the mechanisms governing their class and subclass identities are not well understood. The aim of this work was twofold: (1) to characterize VC differentiation with molecular markers (2) to examine whether HLH-3 and HLH-10, conserved proneural factors had a function in the development of these neurons and how. This work concludes with the examination of a potential mechanism for the regulation of expression of a homeodomain gene, lin-11, shown to function in VCs and downstream of hlh-3. In summary, this work identified a novel and positive function for HLH-3 in nervous system development of C. elegans, functioning in VC specification and terminal differentiation, instead of a classical proneural role. In addition, HLH-10 was identified as an inhibitor of VC class molecular markers.


Zoom information:

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:00 PM CST

Meeting ID: 933 2688 8773

Passcode: f8#Rc@1x


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

Jul 29, 2020

Date updated

Jul 30, 2020