Transcriptional repressors represent the necessary counterweight to transcriptional activators in metazoan development. The mechanisms of transcriptional repression have been intensively investigated, but we lack crucial insights into how repressors act at a mechanistic level across many targets in the genome. In particular, the coordinated recruiting of transcriptional co-repressors can generate diverse effects on chromatin structure and modification, and we still lack insights on the functional significance of many changes that can be measured in `omics studies. To develop key insights into eukaryotic transcriptional regulatory mechanisms, we use the natural setting of the Drosophila embryo to identify basic biochemical processes in a developmental setting, where differential gene expression is used to drive the developmental fate of particular cells and tissues. In this proposal, 1) we will use genome-wide methods developed in our laboratory to identify direct biochemical, chromatin-based processes that are directed by a set of five endogenous transcriptional regulators that repress through short-range and long-range mechanisms. 2) We will study the in vivo activity of wild-type and mutant repression complexes to identify the contributions of distinct transcriptional co-repressors Groucho and CtBP, testing their contributions to quantitative and/or qualitative effects in chromatin modifications and gene regulation. 3) To identify the cis-regulatory context in which transcriptional repressors act on different enhancers, we will quantitatively measure and mathematically model the output of specific enhancers to uncover the fundamental quantitative properties of specific classes of repressors interacting with activators ? i.e. the common ?rules? by which these proteins interact on many target genes. The three interrelated aims will provide predictive tools for interpretation of genomic cis regulatory content of the metazoan genome, providing essential underpinnings for studies of evolution and disease in higher eukaryotes.

Public Health Relevance

The expression of genes controls the normal development of an organism and regulates the body's daily response to the enviroment. To understand how gene expression is regulated in animals, this proposal will use genetic, computational and biochemical methods to study the proteins that bind to genes to regulate their expression, and the DNA sequences that function as molecular switches to activate and inactivate gene expression. The findings from this research will identify mechanisms and pathways that are disrupted in disease states, to aid diagnosis and treatment of human illness.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Molecular Genetics A Study Section (MGA)
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Sledjeski, Darren D
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Michigan State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
East Lansing
United States
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