Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Alex Flynt, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


The process of cell signaling is vital in organisms for proper development as it determines the fate and function of cells. This process is highly regulated by myriad interactions between signaling pathway components and gene expression mechanisms. RNA turnover is a type of RNA processing that degrades RNA. It plays an essential role in homeostasis and environmental changes; however, its influence on signaling pathways is currently unknown. In the present study, the effect of RNA turnover processes on cell signaling was analyzed using the genetic mosaics in Drosophila melanogaster. Fly mosaics were created by breeding RNAi lines targeting cellular ribonucleases under control of the UAS promoter with a fly line expressing GAL4 in the notum region of imaginal wing discs. Cell signaling phenotypes were analyzed in 3rd instar larva utilizing immunohistochemistry. It was observed that knockdown of RNA turnover genes resulted in substantial changes in signaling pathway proteins as well as evidence of hyperproliferation, apoptosis, and reduced proliferation. Morphologically, it was observed that the knockdown of RNA turnover genes resulted in thinner and shorter sensory notum and bristles in Drosophila adults. This indicates that RNA turnover influences developmental signaling pathways and may be an important mechanism in gene regulatory networks. Exercising control of developmental signaling pathways could be applied in therapeutics for co