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Drosophila as a Cancer Model
Expression of activated alleles of ras and JNKK (rasVal12 and Hepact) causes the appearance
of malignant, invasive tumors in the Drosophila brain (lower panel). Differentiated Neurons are
labeled in red, Tumor cells in green, and the actin cytoskeleton in blue
Previous research in the lab showed that JNK signaling activates genes that are required for epithelial movements and morphogenesis during embryonic development. Integrins and profilin were identified as important mediators of this response (Jasper et al, 2001; Homsy et al., 2006). More recently, we have turned to the role of JNK signaling in pathological cell movements. By generating clones of malignant cells in eye imaginal discs we can model tumor behavior in vivo. These studies got us interested in the role of matrix metallo proteases in cell movement and invasiveness (Uhlirova et al., 2005, 2006). Current research investigates the function of Mmp in Drosophila development.