Investigations into the Role of Paf1 Complex Proteins in Drosophila Ovaries
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Over the past decade considerable interest has grown in epigenetics and chromatin modifications. The ability of two cells with identical genomes to have entirely different transcriptomes and therefore cellular behaviors has piqued the curiosity of many researchers creating the whole field of Chromatin Biology. The difference in behavior of otherwise identical cells comes from an array of covalent modifications to protein spools wrapped by DNA in each cell. The complex of DNA and proteins is referred to as chromatin. Chromatin modifications influence the expression of regulatory proteins that control effectors of cellular physiology and metabolism. The outcome of protein function within a cell decides its fate from size, shape, function, the ability to divide or the lack thereof. The behavior of cells that can divide to give rise to themselves or progeny with a distinct specified function in an organism is of interest the biomedical community at large. These cells, called stem cells, hold promise in regenerative medicine to treat dystrophic diseases and injury. Work in cell culture systems shows that proteins modifying stem cell chromatin control their fate to a large extent. In this thesis I present to you, my efforts at understanding the role of a chromatin modifying complex: the Paf1 complex in the maintenance and differentiation of in vivo stem cell populations that control the maintenance of Drosophila ovaries.