collaborations: Dr. Yacine Graba, IBDML, Marseille, France.
Understanding the diversity and the specificity of regulatory molecules is an important challenge in current research on developmental and evolutionary biology. This notion applies to molecules acting in signalling pathways, as well as to transcription factors. In this regard, our interest is focused on Hox proteins, an evolutionarily-conserved family that plays fundamental roles in shaping animal body plan in development. We consider that the Hox protein family constitutes a suited framework to address the general issues of diversity and specificity in development.
In collaboration with Y. Graba, we are tackling these fundamental questions about the functional diversity and the specificity of transcription factors by studying a number of conserved sequence motifs from different Hox proteins. Our aim is to understand how these motifs contribute to the regulation of Hox proteins activity. Our approach relies on complementary strategies using large scale phenotypic analyses, carried out by our collaborators, combined with the structural characterisation of several complexes involving Hox proteins and including different combinations of protein partners and DNA DNA Desoxyribonucleic Acid target sequences.