THE ROLE OF THE WNT/WNGLESS PATHWAY IN THE DROSOPHILA RESPONSE TO DEVELOPMENTAL ETHANOL EXPOSURE
Gerardo AguiÒaga Torres Jr.1, Rachael French2, Sabrina Lopez2.
1Mountain View College, Dallas, TX, 2San Jose State University, San Jose, CA.
Developmental alcohol exposure (DAE) causes an array of physiological and behavioral abnormalities including developmental delay, decreased survival, and permanent neurobehavioral abnormalities. These symptoms are collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). We have established Drosophila melanogaster as a model for investigating the effects of ethanol exposure. By understanding how ethanol exposure alters gene expression and interacts with cell signaling pathways, we may begin to formulate treatments for the symptoms of FASD as well as to prevent those same symptoms in utero. We have previously shown that genes in the Wnt pathway are ethanol targets. Our goal is to determine how this pathway mediates DAE. We will approach this question in two ways: First, we will determine how mutations in the Wnt pathway genes fz-2, drl-2, APC-2, and sgg alter the growth and survival of flies reared in ethanol. Based on previous results, we predict that mutations reducing Wnt signaling (fz-2 and drl-2) will cause reduced survival, while mutations increasing Wnt signaling (APC-2 and sgg) will cause increased survival. Second, we will use quantitative RT-PCR to determine the effect of ethanol exposure on expression of these genes. We predict that ethanol exposure will reduce expression of fz-2 and drl-2 while increasing expression of APC-2 and sgg. The results from our experiments will prove vital for the understanding of FASD and for the generation of methods for prenatal treatment and prevention.