Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Genes and Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Michael J. Galko

Committee Member

William Mattox

Committee Member

Stephanie Watowich

Committee Member

Anna Marie Sokac

Committee Member

Vicki Huff

Abstract

Injury is an inevitable part of life, making wound healing essential for survival. In postembryonic skin, wound closure requires that epidermal cells recognize the presence of a gap and change their behavior to migrate across it. In Drosophila larvae, wound closure requires two signaling pathways (the Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway and the Pvr receptor tyrosine kinase signaling pathway) and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. In this and other systems, it remains unclear how the signaling pathways that initiate wound closure connect to the actin regulators that help execute wound- induced cell migrations. Here we show that chickadee, which encodes the Drosophila Profilin, a protein important for actin filament recycling and cell migration during development, is required for the physiological process of larval epidermal wound closure. After injury, chickadee is transcriptionally upregulated in cells proximal to the wound. We found that JNK, but not Pvr, mediates the increase in chic transcription through the Jun and Fos transcription factors. Finally, we show that chic deficient larvae fail to form a robust actin cable along the wound edge and also fail to form normal filopodial and lamellipodial extensions into the wound gap. Our results thus connect a factor that regulates actin monomer recycling to the JNK signaling pathway during wound closure. They also reveal a physiological function for an important developmental regulator of actin and begin to tease out the logic of how the wound repair response is organized.

Keywords

Drosophila, wound healing, Profilin