Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Molecular and Cell Biology
Pamela K. Geyer
The nuclear lamina is a filamentous network that underlies the nuclear envelope. Lamina components include the family of LEM domain (LEM-D) proteins, named for LAP2, emerin and MAN1. Mutations in genes encoding LEM-D proteins cause tissue-restricted human disease, even though these genes are globally expressed. To understand the contributions of the LEM-D proteins to nuclear lamina function, investigations of the Drosophila LEM-D proteins was undertaken. The Drosophila genome encodes four LEM-D proteins and this thesis describes work done on the Drosophila homologues of MAN1 and emerin, Drosophila MAN1 (dMAN1) and Otefin (Ote). Chapter 2 describes the generation and phenotypic analyses of dMAN1 mutants. These mutants display a range of tissue-specific defects associated with an increase in BMP/Dpp signaling. This suggests that dMAN1 downregulates BMP/Dpp signaling at the nuclear periphery. Chapter 3 describes the identification and phenotypic analyses of ote mutants. Loss of Ote is associated with a tissue-specific defect of the female germline where ote mutant females display defects in germline stem cell (GSC) maintenance. Loss of Ote causes defects in the germline cells, the cap cells of GSC niche and an increased sensitivity to Dpp signaling in both germline and somatic cells. These findings support models suggesting that laminopathies arise from dysfunction of the homeostasis in stem cell populations. Taken together, these studies suggest that the nuclear lamina may play tissue-specific roles through regulation of signal transduction pathways. Our data also support the use of Drosophila as a system to elucidate the mechanistic basis of diseases associated with defects in the nuclear lamina.
Copyright 2009 Belinda Sophia Pinto