2006 Participants
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Obianuju Dike

The relationship between the WD40 protein Fritz and the actin cytoskeleton

"The objective of this research was to examine the relationship between the Drosophila WD40 protein Fritz and the actin cytoskeleton to determine if Fritz protein is an actin binding protein. The Drosophila Fritz protein is one of a group of Planar cell polarity (PCP) Effector genes that are required for the correct cell polarization and cell shape during epithelial development. Much of animal development involves the coordinated growth, patterning, and differentiation of epithelial cell layers. As epithelial cells develop they acquire specific properties that are vital for epithelia function. In the study of epithelia cells, the Collier lab has adopted the ventral epidermis of the Drosophila as a model system for planar cell polarity (PCP) as an alternative to the conventional wing model.  We specifically study the development of rows of actin-rich structures called predenticles which are the precursors of the ventral denticle teeth used by the larvae when crawling. The normal organization of predenticles requires the PCP Effector proteins. The Fritz protein contains WD40 repeats and coiled-coil domains both of which suggest protein-protein interaction or binding. Initial studies in our lab indicated that Fritz-GFP (Green fluorescent protein) fusion protein expressed in Drosophila embryos co-localizes with actin-rich structures such as developing denticles and cell hairs. In order to test if any binding interaction occurs, immunoprecipitation and co-immunoprecipitation assays were developed using extracts from Drosophila embryos expressing Fritz fusion proteins. Although significant results were obtained, this experiment is still in progress."