Title:
Chordate-specific gene regulatory network of neuron development in Ciona.

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Kim, Kwantae
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Stolfi, Alberto
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Abstract
In this research, I investigated the complex gene regulatory networks underlying neurogenesis, taking advantage of the unique neurons of the Ciona model system. I revealed that Fgf signaling is crucial for the neurogenesis of Bipolar Tail Neurons (BTNs) by controlling the expression of Neurogenin, the fate-determining transcription factor in these neurons. Then I also characterized multiple effector genes functioning in the development of BTNs. Additionally, I determined the vital role of the Pax3/7 transcription factor in the neural plate border to induce the neural tube closure. Finally, I demonstrated how the Pax3/7 also orchestrates an intricate gene regulatory network upstream of multiple transcription factors and functional effectors during the neurogenesis of Descending Decussating Neurons (ddNs). I found that the majority of this network’s regulatory branches are shared with other neurons in Ciona or even other organisms including vertebrates. Moreover, I revealed the role of key putative effector genes during the neurogenesis of ddNs. These findings will provide profound insights into developmental mechanisms in the central nervous system of chordates.
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2023-12-12
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Dissertation
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