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Investigation of the role of cell adhesion in wingless signaling during the course of the drosophila development


The discovery that armadillo, a member of the wingless pathway is the homologue of vertebrate beta-catenin, a component of adherens junctions, raises two separate questions: whether cadherin-mediated adhesion is necessary for wingless signal transduction and whether the wingless pathway modulates adhesion (possibly independently of a signalling function). In a first approach to solve this, I have overexpressed different forms of DE-cadherin in Drosophila, using the gal4/UAS system. Dominant phenotypes that phenocopy armadillo loss of function have been obtained in embryos and adult appendages. Their characterisation should determine whether adhesion and signalling are separable or intertwined in the wingless pathway. In a long term approach, we will use these dominant phenotypes to look for genetic modifiers. This screen will allow us to identify new components of the wingless pathway, and possibly genes acting at the interface between adhesion and signalling, and therefore playing a role in morphogenesis.


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