Publication Date

Summer 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Ajay Srivastava (Director), Rodney King, Moon-soo Kim

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The Drosophila dorsal Air Sac Primordium (ASP) is a tracheal tube that invasively grows toward and into the wing imaginal disc. The unfolding of Drosophila wing is a process following eclosion with a cuticular bilayer replacing epithelial cells originally packing the wing. We reasoned that protease functions might be needed for the invasion of ASP into the wing imaginal disc as well as the rearrangement of epithelia cells during wing unfolding. Our study is particularly focused on understanding the role of a Cathepsin L like cysteine protease (CP1) in the development of dorsal ASP and wing development of Drosophila melanogaster. To analyze the function of CP1, we overexpressed and knocked down CP1, respectively, using UAS-GAL4 system in combination with RNA interference technology. We found that both the knockdown and overexpression of CP1 in ASP resulted in perturbed growth, migration and weakened invasion of ASPs. We further explored the mechanism by which CP1 regulates ASP development and found that CP1 is capable of degrading collagen IV, a component of extracellular matrix. For wing development, we observed that both the knockdown and overexpression of CP1 in wing imaginal discs interrupted with normal wing development. In summary, our study demonstrated that CP1 facilitates the normal development of ASPs by degrading extracellular matrix and regulates wing development via a complex network of signaling pathways and protein interactions. Knowledge gained from this study has the potential to help us better understand the invasion of tumor cells through the extracellular matrix in humans.


Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology