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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Transcription factors and heterochromatin formation in Drosophila

Lead Researcher: 
Natalia Azpiazu Torres 

Research Centre:
"Severo Ochoa" Molecular Biology Centre. CSIC-UAM.


Ntalia AzpiazuTranscription factors are proteins capable of binding to DNA which regulate subsidiary gene transcription. This regulation may occur at the epigenetic level, that is, modifying the chromatin state of the DNA regions to which they bind. The main objective of this project is to analyse, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, the mode of action of the Homothorax and Eyegone transcription factors at the chromatin level. These are two proteins with a high degree of conservation in the animal kingdom whose mutations cause various types of vertebrate cancers. Understanding how they operate during normal development of the organism will bring us closer to understanding the mechanisms by which the disease develops.


2 articles published in Journals  
4 papers at international conferences   

Natalia Azpiazu Torres  

A graduate of the Autonomous University of Madrid (in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) in 1989, I began my doctoral thesis at the Max-Planck Institute in Tübingen and ended it at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. I presented the thesis at Eberhard-Karls University in Tübingen (1994), and did postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Ginés Morata at the Severo Ochoa Centre for Molecular Biology in Madrid. After a period as a Ramon y Cajal researcher at the same laboratory, I passed the competitive examination to become a senior scientist at the CSIC.

During my doctoral thesis I discovered two genes which are essential for the
proper development of visceral musculature in the embryo of Drosophila (which I called tinman and bagpipe). This work was published in the prestigious journal Genes and Development (impact factor 14.4), and to date has been cited 465 times.

Since then my work has been focused on analysing the role of the homothorax/extradenticle and eyegone/twin of eyegone transcription factors during the development of Drosophila.

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