A Caltech Library Service

Signal Transduction, Regulation, and Developmental Logic of EGFR Signaling in C. elegans


Chang, Chieh (2001) Signal Transduction, Regulation, and Developmental Logic of EGFR Signaling in C. elegans. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9qcj-az06.


RTKs-mediated signaling systems and the pathways with which they interact (e.g., those initiated by G protein-mediated signaling) involve a highly cooperative network that sense a large number of cellular inputs and then integrate, amplify, and process this information to orchestrate an appropriate set of cellular responses. The responses include virtually all aspects of cell function, from the most fundamental (proliferation, differentiation) to the most specialized (movement, metabolism, chemosensation). The basic tenets of RTK signaling system seem rather well established. Yet, new pathways and even new molecular players continue to be discovered. Although we believe that many of the essential modules of RTK signaling system are rather well understood, we have relatively little knowledge of the extent of interaction among these modules and their overall quantitative importance.

My research has encompassed the study of both positive and negative signaling by RTKs in C. elegans. I identified the C. elegans S0S-1 gene and showed that it is necessary for multiple RAS-mediated developmental signals. In addition, I demonstrated that there is a SOS-1-independent signaling during RAS-mediated vulval differentiation. By assessing signal outputs from various triple mutants, I have concluded that this SOS-1-independent signaling is not mediated by PTP-2/SHP-2 or the removal of inhibition by GAP-1/ RasGAP and it is not under regulation by SLI-1/Cb1. I speculate that there is either another exchange factor for RASor an as yet unidentified signaling pathway operating during RAS-mediated vulval induction in C. elegans.

In an attempt to uncover the molecular mechanisms of negative regulation of EGFR signaling by SLI-1/Cb1, I and two other colleagues codiscovered that RING finger domain of SLI-1 is partially dispensable for activity. This structure-function analysis shows that there is an ubiquitin protein ligase-independent activity for SLI-1 in regulating EGFR signaling. Further, we identified an inhibitory tyrosine of LET-23/ EGFR requiring sli-1(+)for its effects: removal of this tyrosine closely mimics loss of sli-1 but not loss of other negative regulator function.

By comparative analysis of two RTK pathways with similar signaling mechanisms, I have found that clr-1, a previously identified negative regulator of egl-15 mediated FGFR signaling, is also involved in let-23 EGFR signaling. The success of this approach promises a similar reciprocal test and could potentially extend to the study of other signaling pathways with similar signaling logic.

Finally, by correlating the developmental expression of lin-3 EGF to let-23 EGFR signaling activity, I demonstrated the existence of reciprocal EGF signaling in coordinating the morphogenesis of epithelia. This developmental logic of EGF signaling could provide a basis to understand a universal mechanism for organogenesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Sternberg, Paul W.
Thesis Committee:
  • Sternberg, Paul W. (chair)
  • Hay, Bruce A.
  • Chan, David C.
  • Alberola-Ila, Jose
  • Aroian, Raffi V.
Defense Date:29 September 2000
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03112014-080307279
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8120
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:11 Mar 2014 17:25
Last Modified:13 Sep 2022 18:33

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page