During development, cells must make many decisions to ensure the proper specification of cell fate. These decisions are controlled by intercellular communication, with cells influencing their neighbors by secreting signaling molecules which trigger biochemical cascades in receiving cells.
My laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of signal transduction of a class of secreted glycoproteins called Wnts. Using the power of fruit fly genetics, we have performed several screens to identify additional components of the Wnt signaling pathway. To study these factors in biochemical detail, we have developed a cell culture where we can study what is occurring on the promoters of Wnt target genes. In addition, we are studying the sequence requirements that determine whether target genes are activated or repressed by Wnt signaling.These signals are highly conserved throughout the animal kingdom and most of our work is on a Drosophila Wnt referred to as Wingless (Wg). Using the power of fruit fly genetics, we have performed several screens to identify additional components of the Wg signaling pathway.
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