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Title: The characterization of dominant second site modifiers of an activated atonal phenotype in Drosophila melanogaster
Author: Rawlins, Emma
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Sensory neuron fate specification in Drosophila requires the expression of one of the proneural genes (achaete-scute, atonal, or amos) in small groups of ectodermal cells, the proneural clusters. Subsequent resolution of proneural gene expression to a single neural precursor cell is essential for correct fate specification. The proneural gene atonal also has other later roles in the neural precursors. These have been well studied in the chordotonal organ precursors where Atonal activities the Egfr signalling pathway to recruit additional cells to the chordotonal precursor fate. Experimental misexpression of atonal in the developing R8 photoreceptor results in phenotypes that reflect its roles both in terms of R8 fate specification and R8 function. In order to determine more specifically the roles of Atonal in the R8 photoreceptor a number of modifiers of the atonal misexpression phenotype have been characterised. One of these was found to correspond to a mutation in the gene echinoid which encodes a neural cell adhesion molecule. Subsequent analysis has revealed that Echinoid functions specifically in the restriction of neural fate in both atonal and achaete/scute-dependent proneural clusters. Analysis of Echinoid function has revealed a hitherto unsuspected complexity in the process of R8 photoreceptor fate determination. Surprisingly, its mutant phenotype is caused by inappropriate EGF receptor signalling suggesting that its wildtype function is to suppress such activity. The close relationship between this finding and Atonal function is explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available