Amy Bejsovec

Associate Professor of Biology

Office: 
Rm. 4312 French Family Science Center, Dept. of Biology, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Dept. of Biology, Durham, NC 27708-0338
Phone: 
(919) 613-8162
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., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1988

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

  • B.S., Cornell University 1982

Jones, WM, and Bejsovec, A. "RacGap50C negatively regulates wingless pathway activity during Drosophila embryonic development." Genetics 169, no. 4 (April 2005): 2075-2086. Full Text

Bejsovec, A. "Wnt pathway activation: new relations and locations." Cell 120, no. 1 (January 14, 2005): 11-14. (Review) Full Text

Chao, AT, Dierick, HA, Addy, TM, and Bejsovec, A. "Mutations in eukaryotic release factors 1 and 3 act as general nonsense suppressors in Drosophila." Genetics 165, no. 2 (October 2003): 601-612.

Jones, WM, and Bejsovec, A. "Wingless signaling: an axin to grind." Curr Biol 13, no. 12 (June 17, 2003): R479-R481. (Review)

Ostrowski, S, Dierick, HA, and Bejsovec, A. "Genetic control of cuticle formation during embryonic development of Drosophila melanogaster." Genetics 161, no. 1 (May 2002): 171-182.

McCartney, BM, McEwen, DG, Grevengoed, E, Maddox, P, Bejsovec, A, and Peifer, M. "Drosophila APC2 and Armadillo participate in tethering mitotic spindles to cortical actin." Nat Cell Biol 3, no. 10 (October 2001): 933-938. Full Text

Bejsovec, A. "Wnt signaling: an embarrassment of receptors." Curr Biol 10, no. 24 (December 14, 2000): R919-R922. (Review)

Moline, MM, Dierick, HA, Southern, C, and Bejsovec, A. "Non-equivalent roles of Drosophila Frizzled and Dfrizzled2 in embryonic wingless signal transduction." Curr Biol 10, no. 18 (September 21, 2000): 1127-1130.

Fujioka, M, Jaynes, JB, Bejsovec, A, and Weir, M. "Production of transgenic Drosophila." Methods Mol Biol 136 (2000): 353-363. (Review) Full Text

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