Justin Avila

University of Texas

Michelle Southard-Smith lab

SOX10 is a member of the Sry-like HMG domain transcription factor family that plays a critical role in neural crest development and is required for migration of neural crest progenitors that become the neurons and glia of enteric ganglia, which mediate intestinal motility.  Initial studies indicate SOX10 also plays a role in lineage choice as SOX10 mutant mice exhibit an abnormal distribution of enteric neuron subtypes.  My goal is to define the mechanisms by which SOX10 mediates this effect and discern whether this is due to an action of SOX10 in enteric neuron progenitors, or if the altered activity of SOX10 in enteric glia disrupts enteric neuronal differentiation.