Signals in Fly Development

Nikhita Pasnuri and Aprotim Mazumder

Cells communicate using convoluted chemical signals. Given the limited number of proteins, how does a cell assess the input message and act accordingly? One plausible approach could be by applying different strengths of the same input. Using Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit-fly, as a model system, a method was adapted and modified: single-molecule mRNA fluorescence in-situ hybridization (smFISH) for whole-mount tissues. smFISH quantitatively gauged transcription of the target genes, and was used as a proxy to determine the input signal strength. In the lab, smFISH is being applied to understand how different signal strengths can bring about differences during the development of the fly.