Dorsal closure in Drosophila is a widely used model system to study developmental epithelial fusions and wound healing, and had been shown to require coordinated cell morphogenesis and reciprocal communication between different tissue types. In this thesis, I focused on identifying new components of the signalling pathways regulating dorsal closure. First, I extended the characterization of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signalling, which is an important regulator of dorsal closure, and established new leads in the search for components upstream and downstream of EGFR during dorsal closure. I have also identified the ligand Folded gastrulation (Fog) as a candidate upstream regulator of signalling during dorsal closure. Fog appears to regulate the transcript levels of decapentaplegic and zipper, two important genes known to participate in dorsal closure. Finally, I initiated studies to explore if regulators of cell adhesion at the neuromuscular junction are conserved regulators of cell adhesion during dorsal closure.
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Thesis advisor: Harden, Nicholas
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