Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Biological Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 167 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Ben G Szaro

Committee Members

Marlene Belfort, Albert Millis, Hua Shi


cis-regulatory elements, gene regulation, intron, neurofilament, transgenesis, Xenopus laevis, Cytoskeleton, Cellular control mechanisms, Genetic regulation, Gene expression, Genetic engineering, Introns

Subject Categories

Biology | Cell Biology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Axon outgrowth requires coordinated expression of critical cytoskeletal genes in response to extracellular cues. The spatial and temporal expression of these genes is regulated transcriptionally and posttranscriptionally. Such regulation is largely mediated through the activity of cis-regulatory elements within the cytoskeletal DNAs and RNAs, which recruit specific sets of trans-factors such as DNA- and RNA-binding proteins, as well as microRNAs. To identify the functionally active cis-elements, characterize their dynamically changing sets of trans-factors, and investigate the association between the two sets of regulators in the context of an intact developing nervous system, one needs to combine appropriate in vivo strategies that preserve the native biological context in which genes of interest respond to constantly changing extracellular cues with in vitro methods for detailed quantitative analyses at a given stage of neuronal development.