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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

M O L E C U L A R & C O M P U TAT I O NA L B I O LO G Y
FAC U LT Y C A N D I DAT E S E R I E S

Jacques Bothma, PhD


from
University of California at
Berkeley
will present on

"Lighting up the central dogma in


living embryos to uncover how genomic
sequence encodes cell fate decisions”

Abstract: Unraveling the mystery of how a single embryonic cell gives


rise to the menagerie of differentiated cell types that build an animal will
not only reveal the organizing principles of life, but will yield new
insights into disorders of development and cancer. Even though classic
genetic screens and functional genomic approaches have uncovered
essentially all the transcription factors and enhancers involved in
specifying cell identity, we still don’t understand how these molecular
players work together to choreograph development. Thanks to a recent
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 suite of innovations in live imaging andcomputational analysis
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm methodsthe time is ripe for the introduction of a new quantitative
paradigm in the study of development based on how cell fates are
Hancock Foundation Building established in living animals as development is actually taking place.
AHF Torrey Webb Room Indeed, we can now visualize transcription, translation, and even the
3616 Trousdale Pkwy binding of a single TF molecule to DNA in living Drosophila embryos. I
Los Angeles, CA 90089 will discuss the technologies we developed to enable this and what we
learned by applying them, focusing on a new protein tag, LlamaTag,
which makes it possible to visualize transcription factor concentration
dynamics in live embryos. Using LlamaTags we discovered stochastic
For additional information,
bursts in the concentration of transcription factors that are correlated
contact:
with bursts in transcription. We further used LlamaTags to show that the
Suzanne Edmands, PhD concentration of protein in a given nucleus depends heavily on
sedmands@usc.edu transcription of that gene in neighboring nuclei and show that this short
range inter-nuclear coupling is an important mechanism for coordinating
Sergey Nuzhdin, PhD gene expression across many nuclei to delineate straight and sharp
snuzhdin@usc.edu boundaries of gene expression.