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Browsing by Subject "Drosophila"

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  • Kari, Moisio (2023)
    Animals regulate their metabolism dynamically as a response to changes in nutritional landscape. Intestine is emerging as a key regulator of systemic metabolism. It possesses secretory enteroendocrine cells (EECs), which have a central role in intestinal nutrient sensing and signaling. However, how the number and function of EECs is regulated in response to nutrients remains poorly understood. Previous work in Hietakangas lab has shown that a transcriptional cofactor, C-terminal binding protein (CtBP), regulates the number of EECs in response to sugar feeding and loss of CtBP function in EECs causes sugar intolerance in Drosophila. CtBP’s transcriptional activity is modulated through homodimerization, which is controlled by redox coenzyme NAD+/NADH, whose levels are dependent on sugar metabolism. Therefore, I hypothesise that CtBP is a sugar- and redox-responsive regulator of EEC function. In this thesis, I aimed to understand how CtBP is regulated and what are its downstream effectors. My results show that the formation of CtBP homodimers is responsive to dietary sugars and cellular redox state. In addition, I observed that CtBP heterodimerizes with EEC fate determining transcription factor Prospero. Functional analysis of CtBP downstream effector genes shows significant overlap with those of Prospero. In conclusion, CtBP is a sugar- and redox-responsive cellular regulator of EEC function, which acts in cooperation with Prospero.
  • Heino, Olivia (2023)
    The intestinal stem cells (ISCs) adapt in response to environmental factors and continually proliferate to renew the mammalian intestinal epithelium due to its rapid turnover. Overall, intestinal homeostasis is maintained by the differentiation and self-renewal of ISCs, which are regulated by different mechanisms, including epigenetic histone modifications. Earlier studies in the host laboratory have shown that the histone methyltransferase Su(var)3-9 is essential in the nutrient-induced activation of intestinal stem cells. Su(var)3-9 specifically trimethylates histone H3 on lysine 9 (H3K9me3), which is a repressive histone mark, responsible for transcriptional silencing at heterochromatin regions. It influences stem cell maturation, lineage specification, and many other cellular processes. However, the precise mechanisms behind its function in ISCs remain unknown – that knowledge is important for understanding the development of many diseases, including cancer and metabolic disorders. This thesis aimed to investigate the distribution of the heterochromatin mark H3K9me3 in the intestine with an emphasis on ISCs, using the Drosophila midgut and mouse intestinal organoids as models. Confocal microscopy was used together with cell-type-specific fluorescent staining, to obtain the expression of the H3K9me3 specific histone methyltransferase Su(var)3-9, in the midgut. An antibody was used for the detection of H3K9me3 distribution along the anterior/posterior axis in Su(var)3-9 overexpressed flies. Additionally, DNA adenine methyltransferase identification (DamID) was applied in order to find target genes of the H3K9me3 regulation in the genome with the specific chromo domain of M-phase phosphoprotein 8 (MPHOSPH8) that binds to H3K9me3. The number of lineage-labeled differentiated enterocytes was shown to be locally higher in the Su(var)3-9 overexpressed flies compared with the control, although the flies were on starvation without nutrient-induced activation. Moreover, the number of lineage-labeled progenitor cells was not remarkably altered between the samples. However, the intensity of H3K9me3 was significantly higher throughout the whole midguts in the Su(var)3-9 overexpressed flies in comparison to the control. According to one replicate, the DamID in mouse intestinal organoids revealed that the peaks of H3K9me3 were divergent between the samples grown in different conditions. The first sample was assumed to contain more ISCs, whereas the other one was assumed to contain more differentiated intestinal cells. According to my results, the Su(var)3-9 overexpression drives the stem cells against the differentiation of enterocytes. Furthermore, the MPHOSPH8 chromo domain in the organoids was successfully applied in DamID; thus, more replicates should be prepared for additional analysis, because I found several potential target genes of H3K9me3. In the future, it is important to further study the epigenetic regulation of ISCs, for applying the epigenetic marks as targets for the treatment of many human pathophysiological conditions, such as cancer, obesity, and metabolic disorders.
  • Viitanen, Arto I. (2019)
    The intestinal stem cells (ISC) are responsible for the regeneration of the intestine epithelial barrier after acute injury and for the replenishment of its cells overall. How the ISC activation and resulting proliferation is controlled is complex and still under study. The ISCs of the midgut, which is the functional analogue to mammalian small intestine, are also highly responsive to changes in nutrition, and with proper methodologies it is possible to study the effects of diet on stem cell activation. The metabolic flux of the nutritional components of the diet can then shed light on which metabolic pathways are necessary for nutrient-dependent proliferation. One nutrient that has garnered interest is glutamine (Gln). It is well established that glutamine supplementation can in parenterally fed patients diminish intestinal barrier atrophy, extend the time the patient can be kept under the regime, and increase survivability of critically ill patients. Consequently, glutamine or its downstream metabolites may have stem cell activating characteristics. However, the exact regulatory mechanisms and specific effects of Gln are not well known, and studies have found contradictory results on the beneficial effects of Gln supplementation. Glutamine itself is a conditionally essential amino acid that has a variety of functions: it is an important source of nitrogen and cellular energy and contributes carbon into the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) and is involved in protein and nucleotide synthesis. In this thesis, the effects of Gln supplementation on the cell populations of D. melanogaster were studied via microscopy and computational analysis. Cross-breeds of fruit fly were established to lineage label the ISC with a GAL4/UAS driver system. Confocal microscope was used to image the midguts which were then analysed with Imaris software. A novel analysis method was developed to study population changes and varying features of the cells in the midgut in an unprecedented region-by-region bulk analysis. Earlier studies into nutrient control of ISC have had limited focus within the midgut and might have consequently given a restricted view of ISC activation. This new Longitudinal Analysis of Midgut (LAM) can be utilized in a diverse set of further studies to describe conditional variation within midgut, and possibly other tissues. Gln was found to increase total cell numbers to comparable levels with well-fed midguts, and to drive limited endoreplication in enterocytes. Lineage labelled cell population grew primarily in the R3 and R4 regions of the midgut. Additionally, enteroendocrine cells (EE) were greatly increased in the posterior part of R3 but had conceivable minor increases along the whole length of the midgut. Improved nutrition was also found to affect the proportions of the midgut, presenting itself as elongated posterior and stunted anterior. Overall, the pipeline and analysis method established during this study enable more expeditious research of effects of other nutritional components and allows for study of effects of other mechanisms, for example how gene knock-downs or altered gene activities affect cell populations of the midgut.
  • Fischbach, Lea (2022)
    Establishing and maintaining cell polarity is critical to all multicellular organisms. Apicobasal polarity is a type of cell polarity specific to epithelial cells, which is established and maintained by three distinct protein complexes. Among them, the Scribble (Scrib) complex plays a role as a basolateral determinant. Scrib is a scaffold protein with multiple functions, including maintenance of the basolateral polarity of epithelial cells and a tumor suppressor, acting as a regulator of the Hippo signalling, an evolutionarily conserved pathway which controls organ size through regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis by inhibiting the transcriptional co-activator protein Yorkie (Yki). A recent experiment proposed that Scrib is involved in maintaining tissue homeostasis through relaying apicobasal polarity regulation across the tissue. This mechanism can be used both by normal cells to rescue hypomorphic scrib cells and by loss of scrib cells to spread loss of polarity. The signal is likely related by cell-cell contact and the junctions present in epithelial cells may be involved in this communication. This project aims to identify the genes involved in tissue homeostasis through intercellular alignment of apicobasal polarity together with Scrib. First, a screening protocol was established by studying genetic interactions and tissue structure. Second, a systematic screening was carried out by using deficiency lines of left arm of the third chromosome in Drosophila. Fly stock expressing spatially and temporally controlled scrib RNAi was established and crossed with deficiency lines to identify genes that have synergy with Scrib. The wing discs of the offspring were dissected, imaged, and the phenotypes were sorted into categories according to the degree of overgrowth. Five strong candidates and four candidates with milder phenotype were identified. The results show the screening method is robust and suitable to carry out a finer, single gene level screen of the candidates, as well as screening for additional candidates in the rest of the Drosophila genome. The identified candidates provide new leads to develop the theorical model of intercellular alignment of apicobasal polarity. Understanding how apicobasal polarity is maintained in the dynamic environment of a living organism is important for physiological and pathological conditions. This study provides an important insight into further understanding tissue development and homeostasis.