Mechanisms of 3' UTR Lengthening and its Function in Axon Guidance
Regulation of gene expression in the nervous system occurs at multiple stages, including at the post-transcriptional level. The 3' Untranslated Region (3' UTR) of mRNAs can regulate localization and translation of mRNAs in neurons. Brain tissues in Drosophila, mice and human all tend to preferentially express alternative mRNA isoforms that have extended 3' UTRs. We are using Drosophila Melanogaster to investigate the mechanism by which this occurs, and the functional roles of extended 3' UTR mRNA isoforms in the nervous system. We are focusing our efforts on a subset of genes that control a fundamental event in nervous system development- axon guidance.