Research objectives and content
The Drosophila wingless (wg) gene encodes a secreted molecule involved in cell to cell signalling. wg plays an important role in controlling cell fate decisions at various stages of development. One of the genes that acts downstream of Wingless is armadillo, the Drosophila homologue of B-catenin, a component of vertebrate adherens junctions. The molecular nature of Armadillo suggests a possible link between the wg pathway and cell adhesion. Indeed, work in mammalian tissue culture cells suggests that Wnt does increase cell adhesion. the aim of this project is to devise an assay to test whether Wingless controls adhesion in intact Drosophila embryos. The key to my approach is to activate wingless expression (and later, other segment polarity genes) in single cells and follow their behavior in live and fixed preparations. I will use two methods for local gene activation; one will induce expression in randomly positioned single cells (the random method) and the other will be done under the microscope with a microbeam (the targeted method).
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
During my PhD, I acquired my current knowledge of Drosophila developmental genetics. My primary goal is to learn new methods of experimental embryology, especially how to interfere with, and observe, live Drosophila embryos. In the long term, I hope that the combined skills acquired during my PhD and my post-doctoral fellowship will enable me to tackle any issue in developmental genetics.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
This project will have no link with industry although it will further our basic understanding of oncogenesis and might therefore contribute to the development of novel therapies.