Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Cell & Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Jonathan A. Epstein

Abstract

Vertebrate embryogenesis relies on the coordinated development of multiple progenitor cell pools. Specific transcriptional programs regulate the specification, expansion, migration and eventual differentiation of these progenitor cell populations, and tight control of these programs is essential for normal development to occur. Class I histone deacetylases (Hdacs), including Hdac3, play critical roles in regulating gene transcription, through both epigenetic and non-epigenetic means. In this dissertation, I use mouse genetics to explore the previously undescribed role of Hdac3 in regulating neural crest progenitor cell behavior. By genetically deleting Hdac3 in premigratory neural crest cells, I use in vivo and ex vivo techniques to show that Hdac3 plays crucial roles in multiple facets of neural crest development, and that transcriptional programs involved in progenitor cell survival and differentiation are all under the control of this important enzyme.

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