Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Biological Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (xxxi, 297 pages) : illustrations (chiefly color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Prashanth Rangan

Committee Members

Paolo Forni, Melinda Larsen, Randall Morse, Morgan Sammons


Drosophila, histone modifications, histone modifiers, oogenesis, transcription, Oogenesis, Drosophila melanogaster, Genetic transcription, Germ cells, RNA, Messenger RNA

Subject Categories

Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Molecular Biology


Germ cells give rise to gametes and link generations by passing genetic information from parent to offspring. Gametes arise from, in many sexually reproducing organisms, germline stem cells (GSCs) which are set aside early during development. GSCs have an amazing capacity to undergo self-renewal to give rise to a pool of undifferentiated cells, while also differentiating to generate specialized germ cells such as haploid gametes. Upon female GSC differentiation, mitotically dividing germ cells can initiate meiosis, and mature within a follicle. During maturation, the specified oocyte is provided with a trust fund of RNAs and proteins for the next generation and its own development. While the oocyte is provided with mRNAs by support cells it is not continuously transcriptionally quiescent, but rather, has bursts of transcriptional activation. Eventually, the developing oocyte will complete meiosis to give rise to a mature haploid gamete. Thus, in order to generate gametes, several critical developmental transitions must occur: 1) from self-renewing GSC to differentiating daughter, 2) from a cell undergoing mitosis to entering and progressing through meiosis, and 3) timely toggling of oocyte transcriptional activity. These transitions must be tightly regulated, as imbalances in any of these processes can lead to infertility and disease states such as cancer. In my thesis, I aimed to catalog modifications that are found on histone tails during female Drosophila oogenesis and understand the transcriptional regulators of these developmental transitions.