Investigating the molecular mechanisms underpinning the arthropod segmentation clock

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Biology


Arthropods exhibit whole body segmentation, while in vertebrates only internal mesodermal derivatives are segmented, including vertebrae and muscles. Dr Peel's work has shown that the developmental genetic networks underpinning the formation of segmented structures in arthropods and vertebrates share striking mechanistic similarities; in both phyla segments form under the control of a network of molecular oscillators, together termed the 'segmentation clock'. This project will investigate the segmentation network in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, which, unlike Drosophila, generates its segments sequentially using a segmentation clock. The project will determine whether the Notch-signalling pathway and its downstream targets - the Hairy/Enhancer-of-split (HES)-family transcription factors (TFs) - play a central role within the Tribolium segmentation clock, as they do in vertebrates. This study will therefore determine the extent of similarity in the mechanistic interactions underpinning the arthropod and vertebrate segmentation clocks, and help determine how powerful Tribolium is as an invertebrate model for understanding the vertebrate segmentation clock.

This project will be the first to consider mechanistic interactions occurring within the arthropod segmentation clock at the protein level. The project would also be the first to specifically consider the segmentation mechanisms operating within the mesoderm (as opposed to ectoderm), a more appropriate point of comparison to vertebrates.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2110792 Studentship BB/M011151/1 30/09/2018 31/10/2022 Jacob Leese