The long-term goal of this proposal is to elucidate the molecular mechanism(s) by which the Wingless (Wg) morphogen gradient and signaling are regulated during development. Drosophila Wg encodes an evolutionarily conserved glycoprotein of the Wnt family. Aberant Wg/Wnt signaling activity underlies a number of human developmental disorders and contributes to a variety of cancers. Thus, elucidation of the Wg/Wnt signaling pathway will provide new insights into the mechanisms of related human diseases. Although the components of the Wg/Wnt signaling pathway in its receiving cells have been well characterized over the past 20 years, it remains poorly understood how the mature form of Wg is secreted and travels to its receiving cells to form a concentration gradient, and how the Wg signaling activates the transcription of its downstram target genes. This is an application for continuing support. The current proposal will examine the mechanisms of Wg secretion and its signaling activity in the regulation of the transcription of its target genes. Fist, we will determine the functions of three newly identified ER and Golgi vesicle proteins in Wg secretion (Aim1). Second, we will examine the role(s) of ubiquitin E3 ligase Su (dx) and the deubiquitinating enzyme USP8 in Wls ubiquitination and Wg secretion (Aim2). Third, we will examine the function of Drosophila UBR5 in regulating Wg signaling (Aim3). Taken together, our genetic and biochemical analyses of the newly identified genes in the Wg pathway will provide new insights into the mechanisms of Wg secretion and the transcriptional activation of Wg target genes. Since the Wg signaling transduction pathway is conserved between Drosophila and humans, the outcomes of this project will clearly provide new insights into the mechanisms of various disease processes including cancers.

Public Health Relevance

Wingless (Wg)/ Wnt signaling is essential for embryonic development and is implicated in a variety of human diseases including cancers. This proposal will examine the molecular mechanisms by which Wg secretion and its signaling activity is regulated in development. The outcomes of this application will help in understanding the related human disease processes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Intercellular Interactions (ICI)
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Hoodbhoy, Tanya
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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
United States
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Zhang, Peng; Zhou, Lujun; Pei, Chunli et al. (2016) Dysfunction of Wntless triggers the retrograde Golgi-to-ER transport of Wingless and induces ER stress. Sci Rep 6:19418
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