Stanislav Y. Shvartsman, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University, will give a colloquium titled, "The First 15 Minutes of EGF Signaling in a Developing Embryo."
Locally produced growth factors, such as the epidermal growth factor (EGF), are essential for the development and maintenance of animal tissues. To understand these important processes, biological effects of growth factors must be studied as a function of space, time, and signaling network composition. A wide range of genetic, biochemical, and imaging approaches can be used to explore spatial control of growth factor signaling in tissues and organs. However, studies of signaling dynamics have been largely limited to cells in culture. Over the past couple of years, we have been using the early Drosophila embryo as an in vivo model for investigating the dynamics of cellular responses to growth factors. Based on high-throughput imaging of live and fixed embryos, in both wild type and mutant conditions, we developed quantitative models describing direct gene expression responses to autocrine and paracrine growth factors. In addition, we identified mechanisms that ensure that multiple components of signaling networks, including receptors and ligands, are synchronously expressed when needed for function. Given the highly conserved nature of developmental signaling pathways, studies in flies provide general insights into the biological effects of locally produced growth factors.
Originally published at acms.nd.edu.