Amy Bejsovec, Associate Professor  

Amy Bejsovec

My laboratory explores the molecular mechanisms of pattern formation in developing embryos. We focus on the Wingless(Wg)/Wnt class of secreted growth factor: these molecules promote cell-cell communication leading to important cell fate decisions during the development of both vertebrate and invertebrate embryos. In addition, this highly conserved pathway is essential for maintaining stem cell populations and is associated with human cancers when inappropriately activated in adult tissues. Wg/Wnt molecules have proven difficult to work with biochemically because they associate tightly with cell membranes. Therefore, we exploit the powerful genetic and molecular techniques available in Drosophila to approach basic questions about Wg/Wnt signal transduction. Current work in the lab includes analysis of genes discovered as suppressors or enhancers of wg mutant phenotypes, which may identify new control mechanisms for the pathway. In earlier work, we found that the Wg-activated transcription factor, dTCF, can act as either a repressor or an activator of Wg target genes, and our screens have uncovered other factors that may influence this genetic switch. We have also characterized a Drosophila homolog of the human tumor suppressor, APC, which negatively regulates the Wg/Wnt signaling pathway, and we are currently studying other genes that show similar properties. We use cultured human cells to determine whether gene activities we have discovered and characterized in the fly embryo are relevant to the mammalian Wnt pathway as well.

Education:
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison, 1988
M.S., University of Wisconsin at Madison, 1985
B.S., Cornell University, 1982

Office Location: Rm. 4312 French Family Science Center, Dept. of Biology, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 613-8162
Email Address: bejsovec@duke.edu
Web Page: http://sites.duke.edu/bejsoveclab/
Additional Web Page: http://sites.duke.edu/bejsoveclab/

Specialties:
Cell and Molecular Biology
Developmental Biology
Genetics

Research Categories: Genetic control of cell fate specification in Drosophila

Research Description: My laboratory explores the molecular mechanisms of pattern formation in developing embryos. We focus on the Wingless(Wg)/Wnt class of secreted growth factor: these molecules promote cell-cell communication leading to important cell fate decisions during the development of both vertebrate and invertebrate embryos. In addition, this highly conserved pathway is essential for maintaining stem cell populations and is associated with human cancers when inappropriately activated in adult tissues. Wg/Wnt molecules have proven difficult to work with biochemically because they associate tightly with cell membranes. Therefore, we exploit the powerful genetic and molecular techniques available in Drosophila to approach basic questions about Wg/Wnt signal transduction. Current work in the lab includes analysis of genes discovered as suppressors or enhancers of wg mutant phenotypes, which may identify new control mechanisms for the pathway. In earlier work, we found that the Wg-activated transcription factor, dTCF, can act as either a repressor or an activator of Wg target genes, and our screens have uncovered other factors that may influence this genetic switch. We have also characterized a Drosophila homolog of the human tumor suppressor, APC, which negatively regulates the Wg/Wnt signaling pathway, and we are currently studying other genes that show similar properties. We use cultured human cells to determine whether gene activities we have discovered and characterized in the fly embryo are relevant to the mammalian Wnt pathway as well.

Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Greer, E. R., Chao, A.T., and Bejsovec, A, The role of Pebble/Ect2 in regulating Wg/Wnt activity, Development, vol. 140 no. 24 (2013), pp. 4937-46  [abs].
  2. Bejsovec, A, Wingless/Wnt signaling in Drosophila: the pattern and the pathway., Molecular Reproduction & Development, vol. 80 no. 11 (November, 2013), pp. 882-894 [24038436], [doi]  [abs].
  3. Bejsovec, A; Chao, AT, crinkled reveals a new role for Wingless signaling in Drosophila denticle formation., Development (Cambridge), vol. 139 no. 4 (2012), pp. 690-698 [22219350], [doi]  [abs].
  4. Jones, WM; Chao, AT; Zavortink, M; Saint, R; Bejsovec, A, Cytokinesis proteins Tum and Pav have a nuclear role in Wnt regulation., Journal of cell science, vol. 123 no. Pt 13 (July, 2010), pp. 2179-2189 [20516152], [doi]  [abs].
  5. Gregory, SL; Ebrahimi, S; Milverton, J; Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A; Saint, R, Cell division requires a direct link between microtubule-bound RacGAP and Anillin in the contractile ring., Current Biology, vol. 18 no. 1 (2008), pp. 25-29 [18158242], [doi]  [abs].
  6. Chao, AT; Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A, The HMG-box transcription factor SoxNeuro acts with Tcf to control Wg/Wnt signaling activity., Development (Cambridge), vol. 134 no. 5 (2007), pp. 989-997 (ISSN: 0950-1991.) [17267442], [doi]  [abs].
  7. Bejsovec, A, Flying at the head of the pack: Wnt biology in Drosophila., Oncogene: Including Oncogene Reviews, vol. 25 no. 57 (December, 2006), pp. 7442-7449 [17143288], [doi]  [abs].
  8. McCartney, BM; Price, MH; Webb, RL; Hayden, MA; Holot, LM; Zhou, M; Bejsovec, A; Peifer, M, Testing hypotheses for the functions of APC family proteins using null and truncation alleles in Drosophila., Development (Cambridge), vol. 133 no. 12 (June, 2006), pp. 2407-2418 [16720878], [doi]  [abs].
  9. Zavortink, M; Contreras, N; Addy, T; Bejsovec, A; Saint, R, Tum/RacGAP50C provides a critical link between anaphase microtubules and the assembly of the contractile ring in Drosophila melanogaster., Journal of cell science, vol. 118 no. Pt 22 (November, 2005), pp. 5381-5392 [16280552], [doi]  [abs].
  10. Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A, RacGap50C negatively regulates wingless pathway activity during Drosophila embryonic development., Genetics, vol. 169 no. 4 (April, 2005), pp. 2075-2086 [15695356], [doi]  [abs].
  11. Bejsovec, A, Wnt pathway activation: new relations and locations., Cell, vol. 120 no. 1 (January, 2005), pp. 11-14 [15652476], [doi]  [abs].
  12. Bejsovec, A; Lecuit, T; Modolell, J, The fly Olympics: faster, higher and stronger answers to developmental questions. Conference on the Molecular and Developmental Biology of Drosophila., EMBO Reports, vol. 5 no. 11 (November, 2004), pp. 1037-1040 [15486566], [doi] .
  13. Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A, Wingless signaling: an axin to grind., Current Biology, vol. 13 no. 12 (June, 2003), pp. R479-R481 [12814566]  [abs].
  14. Chao, AT; Dierick, HA; Addy, TM; Bejsovec, A, Mutations in eukaryotic release factors 1 and 3 act as general nonsense suppressors in Drosophila., Genetics, vol. 165 no. 2 (October, 2003), pp. 601-612 [14573473]  [abs].