Mapping the Regulation of Wnt Signaling with β-Cat-eleon: A Fluorescent β-catenin "timer"

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: February 2015
Award End Date: January 2017
Amount Awarded: $ 200,000.00
PI(s): Fotini Gounari, PhD, UChicago; Brad Merrill, PhD, UIC;

Abstract: All animals possess a version of the Wnt signaling pathway, which transmits signals from outside of cells to DNA in the nucleus. These signals specify cell identities in embryos, and control stem cells in adults. In humans, deregulated Wnt signaling causes cancer in several organs, including the colon, blood, mammary gland and liver. Despite the importance of Wnt signaling, it is not clear how the pathway stimulates its many of its physiological effects. We will develop a novel method of detecting Wnt signaling, named "β-cat-eleon", which will identify new ways in which Wnt controls cell identities and identify new genetic regulators of Wnt signaling. This research is needed to map how Wnt signaling informs the cell about its environment and the genes needed for this process. Such discoveries are paramount for understanding what goes wrong in diseases such as cancer.