Title: How flies make and use their appendages
Abstract: My plan is to present an overview of the current efforts in my lab, providing necessary background when needed. I will describe our studies describing the in vitro DNA binding properties of the Hox family of transcription factors, both with and without cofactors, and then our more recent work extending our in vitro discoveries back in vivo, into the fly. The two in vivo Hox-dependent systems that I will describe are the famous transformation of the 3rd thoracic segment to a second copy of the 2nd thoracic segment (the so-called ‘bithorax’ fly) and how the pairs of legs in each thoracic segment acquire their distinct morphological identities. If there is time and interest, I will discuss our efforts to characterize the molecular identities of each of the ~50 motor neurons that innervate each leg and how these neurons connect to the rest of the neural circuitry to allow the fly to walk with all six legs in a coordinated manner.