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Cells communicate by producing molecular signals that activate a signal-specific pathway to elicit a response in neighboring cells. Signaling pathways share similar elements that include the signal and receptor, and intracellular components to relay the signal and effect a change in gene expression. Two signaling pathways, the Wnt pathway and the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) pathway, which contribute to the establishment of body plans for all multicellular animals, have been thought to be independent of one another. However, recent evidence suggests that the Wnt and BMP pathways share a signal transducer that has a necessary function in both pathways. This hypothesis has not yet been tested with the definitive genetic method of using a genomic deletion. This is a progress report of such a definitive test. I am testing whether Mad is required in both the BMP and Wnt signaling pathways using the Mad[KO] allele to generate Drosophila embryos that lack Mad. Whether Mad is required for Wnt responses will be determined by examining the denticle belt patterns of exoskeletons from embryos that lack Mad. The denticle belt pattern will be compared to that of embryos that lack the signals necessary for either the BMP or the Wnt pathway. The results obtained will provide critical evidence for whether Mad functions only in the BMP signaling pathway, or both BMP and Wnt signaling pathways.

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2021




Signaling Pathways; Mad; BMP; Wnt

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1000 KB


Faculty Mentor: Laurel Raftery, Ph.D.


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Testing for a Smad Requirement in Wnt Signaling in Drosphila Embryos