Amy Bejsovec

Associate Professor of Biology

Office: 
Rm. 4312 French Family Science Center, Dept. of Biology, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
90338
Phone: 
(919) 613-8162
Fax: 
(919) 613-8177

Lab Site: http://sites.duke.edu/bejsoveclab/

Research Interests: 

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.

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. 1988, University of Wisconsin at Madison

  • M.S. 1985, University of Wisconsin at Madison

  • B.S. 1982, Cornell University

Papers Published

Pebble/ECT2 RhoGEF negatively regulates the Wingless/Wnt signaling pathway., 12, 2013
Greer, ER; Chao, AT; Bejsovec, A, Development (Cambridge). 140 vol. (24); pp. 4937-4946

The role of Pebble/Ect2 in regulating Wg/Wnt activity, 0, 2013
Greer, E. R., Chao, A.T., and Bejsovec, A, Development. 140 vol. (24); pp. 4937-46

crinkled reveals a new role for Wingless signaling in Drosophila denticle formation., 2012
Bejsovec, A; Chao, AT, Development (Cambridge). (2012) 139 vol. (4); pp. 690-698

Cytokinesis proteins Tum and Pav have a nuclear role in Wnt regulation., 7, 2010
Jones, WM; Chao, AT; Zavortink, M; Saint, R; Bejsovec, A, Journal of cell science. 123 vol. (Pt 13); pp. 2179-2189

Cell division requires a direct link between microtubule-bound RacGAP and Anillin in the contractile ring., 2008
Gregory, SL; Ebrahimi, S; Milverton, J; Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A; Saint, R, Current Biology. (2008) 18 vol. (1); pp. 25-29

The HMG-box transcription factor SoxNeuro acts with Tcf to control Wg/Wnt signaling activity., 2007
Chao, AT; Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A, Development (Cambridge). (2007) 134 vol. (5); pp. 989-997

Testing hypotheses for the functions of APC family proteins using null and truncation alleles in Drosophila., 6, 2006
McCartney, BM; Price, MH; Webb, RL; Hayden, MA; Holot, LM; Zhou, M; Bejsovec, A; Peifer, M, Development (Cambridge). 133 vol. (12); pp. 2407-2418

Flying at the head of the pack: Wnt biology in Drosophila., 12, 2006
Bejsovec, A, Oncogene: Including Oncogene Reviews. 25 vol. (57); pp. 7442-7449

RacGap50C negatively regulates wingless pathway activity during Drosophila embryonic development., 4, 2005
Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A, Genetics. 169 vol. (4); pp. 2075-2086

Tum/RacGAP50C provides a critical link between anaphase microtubules and the assembly of the contractile ring in Drosophila melanogaster., 11, 2005
Zavortink, M; Contreras, N; Addy, T; Bejsovec, A; Saint, R, Journal of cell science. 118 vol. (Pt 22); pp. 5381-5392

Wnt pathway activation: new relations and locations., 1, 2005
Bejsovec, A, Cell. 120 vol. (1); pp. 11-14

The fly Olympics: faster, higher and stronger answers to developmental questions. Conference on the Molecular and Developmental Biology of Drosophila., 11, 2004
Bejsovec, A; Lecuit, T; Modolell, J, EMBO Reports. 5 vol. (11); pp. 1037-1040

Wingless signaling: an axin to grind., 6, 2003
Jones, WM; Bejsovec, A, Current Biology. 13 vol. (12); pp. R479-R481

Mutations in eukaryotic release factors 1 and 3 act as general nonsense suppressors in Drosophila., 10, 2003
Chao, AT; Dierick, HA; Addy, TM; Bejsovec, A, Genetics. 165 vol. (2); pp. 601-612

Genetic control of cuticle formation during embryonic development of Drosophila melanogaster., 5, 2002
Ostrowski, S; Dierick, HA; Bejsovec, A, Genetics. 161 vol. (1); pp. 171-182

Drosophila APC2 and Armadillo participate in tethering mitotic spindles to cortical actin., 10, 2001
McCartney, BM; McEwen, DG; Grevengoed, E; Maddox, P; Bejsovec, A; Peifer, M, Nature Cell Biology. 3 vol. (10); pp. 933-938

Non-equivalent roles of Drosophila Frizzled and Dfrizzled2 in embryonic wingless signal transduction., 9, 2000
Moline, MM; Dierick, HA; Southern, C; Bejsovec, A, Current Biology. 10 vol. (18); pp. 1127-1130

Wnt signaling: an embarrassment of receptors., 12, 2000
Bejsovec, A, Current Biology. 10 vol. (24); pp. R919-R922

Drosophila APC2 is a cytoskeletally-associated protein that regulates wingless signaling in the embryonic epidermis., 9, 1999
McCartney, BM; Dierick, HA; Kirkpatrick, C; Moline, MM; Baas, A; Peifer, M; Bejsovec, A, The Journal of Cell Biology. 146 vol. (6); pp. 1303-1318

Wnt signalling shows its versatility., 9, 1999
Bejsovec, A, Current Biology. 9 vol. (18); pp. R684-R687

Directionality of wingless protein transport influences epidermal patterning in the Drosophila embryo., 10, 1999
Moline, MM; Southern, C; Bejsovec, A, Development (Cambridge). 126 vol. (19); pp. 4375-4384

Cellular mechanisms of wingless/Wnt signal transduction., 0, 1999
Dierick, H; Bejsovec, A, Current topics in developmental biology. 43 pp. 153-190

Signal transduction: Wnt signalling shows its versatility, 0, 1999
Bejsovec, A, Current Biology. 9 vol. (18); pp. R684-R687

Functional analysis of Wingless reveals a link between intercellular ligand transport and dorsal-cell-specific signaling., 12, 1998
Dierick, HA; Bejsovec, A, Development (Cambridge). 125 vol. (23); pp. 4729-4738

Drosophila Tcf and Groucho interact to repress Wingless signalling activity., 1998
Cavallo, RA; Cox, RT; Moline, MM; Roose, J; Polevoy, GA; Clevers, H; Peifer, M; Bejsovec, A, Nature. (1998) 395 vol. (6702); pp. 604-608

Negative regulation of Armadillo, a Wingless effector in Drosophila., 6, 1997
Pai, LM; Orsulic, S; Bejsovec, A; Peifer, M, Development (Cambridge). 124 vol. (11); pp. 2255-2266

Armadillo coactivates transcription driven by the product of the Drosophila segment polarity gene dTCF., 1997
van de Wetering, M; Cavallo, R; Dooijes, D; van Beest, M; van Es, J; Loureiro, J; Ypma, A; Hursh, D; Jones, T; Bejsovec, A; Peifer, M; Mortin, M; Clevers, H, Cell. (1997) 88 vol. (6); pp. 789-799

Wingless signaling generates pattern through two distinct mechanisms., 1997
Hays, R; Gibori, GB; Bejsovec, A, Development (Cambridge). (1997) 124 vol. (19); pp. 3727-3736

Signaling activities of the Drosophila wingless gene are separately mutable and appear to be transduced at the cell surface., 1, 1995
Bejsovec, A; Wieschaus, E, Genetics. 139 vol. (1); pp. 309-320

Segment polarity gene interactions modulate epidermal patterning in Drosophila embryos., 10, 1993
Bejsovec, A; Wieschaus, E, Development (Cambridge). 119 vol. (2); pp. 501-517

Knowing your neighbors: Cell interactions determine intrasegmental patterning in Drosophila, 0, 1992
Peifer, M; Bejsovec, A, Trends in Genetics. 8 vol. (7); pp. 243-249

Secretion and movement of wingless protein in the epidermis of the Drosophila embryo., 8, 1991
González, F; Swales, L; Bejsovec, A; Skaer, H; Martinez Arias, A, Mechanisms of Development. 35 vol. (1); pp. 43-54

Roles of wingless in patterning the larval epidermis of Drosophila., 10, 1991
Bejsovec, A; Martinez Arias, A, Development (Cambridge). 113 vol. (2); pp. 471-485

Functions of the myosin ATP and actin binding sites are required for C. elegans thick filament assembly., 1, 1990
Bejsovec, A; Anderson, P, Cell. 60 vol. (1); pp. 133-140

Myosin heavy-chain mutations that disrupt Caenorhabditis elegans thick filament assembly., 10, 1988
Bejsovec, A; Anderson, P, Genes & development. 2 vol. (10); pp. 1307-1317

Book Chapters:

Production of transgenic Drosophila. in Developmental Biology Protocols, 0, 2000
Fujioka, M; Jaynes, JB; Bejsovec, A; Weir, M

Cellular mechanisms of Wingless/Wnt signaling activity in Current Topics in Developmental Biology, 0, 1999
Dierick, H. and Bejsovec, A.