Our lab has identified a number of transcription factors that act in the C-lineage during early embryogenesis. I am studying the physical interactions between these transcription factors to better understand the topology of the C-lineage transcription factor network and determine how the localized activity of a single master regulator (PAL-1) is sufficient to promote tissue and cell-fate specification within this lineage.
One curious feature of RNAi in C. elegans is the ability of silencing to spread systemically throughout the animal, regardless of its point of entry. I am studying the spread of silencing between tissues, using an endogenous hairpin as the source of double-stranded RNA. I am particularly interested in the nature of the silencing signal and how this signal is exported from the tissue in which the hairpin is expressed. I am currently working to identify new factors involved in this process.