Petra Visic

Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Sandra M. Leal, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


Aberrant activity of a single gene can lead towards development of cancerous cells. Drosophila melanogaster is a useful model system to study cancer because there is high degree of evolutionary conservation in signaling pathways between humans and flies that play major roles in regulating cell proliferation and growth (Miles et al., 2011). At The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Dr. Leal’s lab has gathered evidence suggesting that bab1 and bab2 interact with the T-box gene midline (mid) and its paralog H15, while the early developmental function of bab1 and bab2 remains unknown. That is why elucidating the early interactions of bab1, bab2, mid and H15 is an important first step towards determining whether they collaborate to regulate cell proliferation. Defects in their function may contribute to disruption of cell proliferation and subsequent development of cancerous tissue. In this study, we demonstrate the early developmental interactions of Bab2, Midline and H15 proteins in Drosophila melanogster by immunolabelling imaginal eye discs (third instar larval, P1 and P2 stages) and embryonic central nervous system (stages 14, 15, 17) with specific antibody probes to detect these proteins. We also present preliminary chromosomal deficiency mapping analyses to ensure that the bab2 gene is the only gene of interest interacting with mid from a pool of other potential mid-interacting gene candidates. Our results demonstrate the early developmental interactions of Bab2, Midline and H15 proteins within the eye discs and the embryonic central nervous system (CNS). The model known as the “Nymc1-tbx2-tbx20” interaction model (Cai et al., 2005) is also presented as a reference for future research where I will determine the collaborative role of Bab1 in Bab2-Midline-H15 interactions in early development as a graduate student at USM (August, 2013).