Honors Theses


Amit Singh



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Honors Thesis


An interesting question in developmental biology is how any three-dimensional organ develops from a single monolayer of cells. In multicellular organisms, delineation of Antero-Posterior (AP), Dorso-Ventral (DV) and Proximo-Distal (PD) axes is crucial for organ development. Drosophila melanogaster is an ideal model organism as the genes and pathways are highly conserved between Drosophila and humans. During eye development, DV axis formation marks the first lineage restriction event and deviation in this process results in birth defects in the eye. Previously, we identified defective proventriculus (dve) as a new dorsal eye fate selector or patterning gene. dve regulates eye development by regulating wg, a negative regulator of eye development. Apart from wg, there are several other morphogen signals which have an important role during eye growth and development. Dpp signaling is one such pathway important for retinal differentiation. We hypothesize that dve, a transcription factor, regulates the Decapentaplegic (Dpp) signaling pathway, which is comparable to bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in mammals, during dorsal eye development. We will investigate the role of dve in the dorsal eye and whether dve requires Dpp signaling to specify eye and head fate to form an organ of balanced size and shape. We utilized the GAL4-UAS system to modulate Dpp signaling in the dve domain. Thus far in our research, we have found that upregulation of Dpp in the dve domain results in an enlarged eye phenotype, while downregulation of Dpp in the dve domain results in a small eye phenotype. We have tested retinal determination genes to explore cell specific fate and further support the genetic interaction between dve and Dpp signaling. We are currently testing their interaction using clonal strategies to understand how dve regulates dpp in the developing eye. This study may have a significant bearing on growth, signaling and patterning defects and help in understanding the etiology behind genetic birth defects in the eye.

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Undergraduate research



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