Using the Drosophila fly intestine to investigate Wnt targets in vivo

The Apc tumour suppressor gene is mutated in 80% of colorectal cancers. Mechanistically its major function as a tumour suppressor is to negatively regulate Wnt signalling, preventing the activation of Wnt target genes. Due to the difficulties of studying intestinal cells ex vivo, a plethora of studies have been performed investigating gene function within the murine intestine following Apc loss. In this grant we propose to validate the Drosophila fly intestine as a model system to investigate Apc loss. Specifically we aim to use the Drosophila intestine as a screen for Wnt targets that are functionally important for the phenotypes of Apc loss. These experiments could dramatically reduce the numbers of murine intestinal experiments performed and yield new insights in to colorectal carcinogenesis.

Related Content

Lourenço FC, Munro J, Brown J, Cordero J, Stefanatos R, Strathdee K, Orange C, Feller SM, Sansom OJ, Vidal M, Murray GI, Olson MF (2014). Reduced LIMK2 expression in colorectal cancer reflects its role in limiting stem cell proliferation. Gut 63(3): 480-93 doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-303883

Myant KB, Cammareri P, McGhee EJ, Ridgway RA, Huels DJ, Cordero JB, Schwitalla S, Kalna G, Ogg EL, Athineos D, Timpson P, Vidal M, Murray GI, Greten FR, Anderson KI, Sansom OJ (2013). ROS production and NF-κB activation triggered by RAC1 facilitate WNT-driven intestinal stem cell proliferation and colorectal cancer initiation. Cell Stem Cell 12(6): 761-73 doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.04.006

Cordero JB, Sansom OJ (2012) Wnt signalling and its role in stem cell-driven intestinal regeneration and hyperplasia. Acta Physiologica 204(1): 137-43 doi:10.1111/j.1748-1716.2011.02288.x

Cordero JB, Stefanatos RK, Scopelliti A, Vidal M, Sansom OJ (2012) Inducible progenitor-derived Wingless regulates adult midgut regeneration in Drosophila. The EMBO Journal 31 (19): 3901-3917  doi:10.1038/emboj.2012.248

Cordero JB, Stefanatos RK, Myant K, Vidal M, Sansom OJ (2012) Non-autonomous crosstalk between the Jak/Stat and Egfr pathways mediates Apc1-driven intestinal stem cell hyperplasia in the Drosophila adult midgut. Development 139(24): 4524-35 doi:10.1242/dev.078261
Back to top
Project grant



Principal investigator

Dr Owen Sansom


University of Glasgow


Dr Marcos Vidal

Grant reference number


Award date:

Nov 2010 - Nov 2013

Grant amount


Primary 'R'


Scientific Discipline

Cells and systems


Non-vertebrate models