North Carolina State University - Program Of Genetics

Max J. Scott
Max J. Scott
Program in Genetics


Professor of Entomology

Type: Faculty

PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
Postdoctoral, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Heraklion, Greece

Contact Info
Office: 1542B Thomas Hall, 919-515-0275
Lab: 1546 Thomas Hall, 919-515-1857
Fax: 919-515-3355

Website: Visit our Lab Home Page

Research Areas: Behavioral / Biomedical | Molecular / Cell / Development

My laboratory has studied the epigenetic mechanism of X chromosome dosage compensation in Drosophila, the role of epigenetic modifiers in long-term memory in Drosophila and the genetic basis of sex determination in the sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina. In addition we have worked on applying knowledge from some of these more basic studies to developing transgenic strains of L. cuprina and other insects that would be ideal for a genetic pest management program.

Genetic pest management (GPM): The sterile insect technique involves the mass release of millions of insects that have been sterilized by radiation. The technique is particularly efficient if only sterile male insects are released in the targeted area. We were one of the first groups to develop a conditional lethal system for controlling the viability of female insects (Heinrich and Scott, 2000). Drosophila females carrying this two-component genetic system died unless tetracycline was added to the diet. More recently, we have been developing repressible female-lethal and female-to-male transformation genetic systems based on the master sex determination gene transformer that we initially isolated from Lucilia cuprina (Concha and Scott, 2009) and more recently from the primary screw-worm fly Cochliomyia hominivorax. We are part of the GPM program at NCSU (

X chromosome dosage compensation: requires the MSL chromatin modifying complex that binds to many genes on the single male X chromosome. We have been interested in understanding the roles of the MSL proteins and non-coding roX RNAs in targeting the MSL complex to the X chromosome. We have also been investigating if the histone acetylase activity of the MOF protein is important for transcription regulation by the MSL complex.

Learning and memory: the establishment of long-term memories involves changes in gene expression. Chromatin modifying and remodelling complexes are essential for the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes. Recently, we have been investigating the importance of specific chromatin modifying proteins in long-term learning and memory in Drosophila.

Selected Publications:

Concha C, Belikoff EJ, Carey B, Li F, Schiemann AH, and Scott MJ. (2011). Efficient germ-line transformation of the economically important pest species Lucilia cuprina and Lucilia sericata (Diptera, Calliphoridae). Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 41:70–75.

Moore SA, Ferhatoglu Y, Jia Y, Al-Jiab RA, and Scott MJ. (2010). Structural and biochemical studies on the chromo-barrel domain of male specific lethal 3 (MSL3) reveal a binding preference for mono or dimethyl lysine 20 on histone H4. J. Biol. Chem. 285:40879–90.

Schiemann AH, Li F, Weake VM, Belikoff EJ, Klemmer KC, Moore SA, and Scott MJ. (2010). Sex-biased transcription enhancement by a 5' tethered Gal4-MOF histone acetyltransferase fusion protein in Drosophila. BMC Mol Biol. 11:80.

Concha C, and Scott MJ. (2009). Sexual development in Lucilia cuprina (Diptera, Calliphoridae) is controlled by the transformer gene. Genetics. 182:785–798.

Li F, Schiemann AH, and Scott MJ. (2008). Incorporation of the non-coding roX RNAs alters the chromatin binding specificity of the Drosophila MSL1/MSL2 complex. Mol. Cell. Biol. 28:1252–1264.

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Program in Genetics
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N.C. State University
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