HomeFacultyKavita Arora

Kavita Arora

Kavita Arora, PhDKavita Arora, Ph.D.
Professor & Vice Chair

4215 McGGaugh Hall
University of California Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697

Tel: (949) 824-1087
(949) 824-4709
Lab Homepage

Drosophila development – We are interested in understanding the role of two TGF-ß related genes, screw (scw) and decapentaplegic (dpp), in specifying cell fate during embryonic development in the fruitfly Drosophila. Since the TGF-ß signaling pathway is evolutionarily conserved, findings from a genetically tractable organisms like Drosophila can provide insights into the mechanism of action of TGF-ß proteins in other organisms, including humans. We have cloned the scw gene and shown that although scw transcripts are ubiquitously expressed, the protein is only required in dorsal cells. It is likely that Scw may be activated in a subset of the cells where it is expressed because of its interaction with other genes involved in patterning the embryo. We are using molecular genetic tools and biochemical techniques to test how Scw activity is modulated post-translationally.

Recent Publications

  • Cho, J., Warrior, R., and K. Arora. lbe and fra regulation via conserved cis-regulatory elements
    links BMP signaling to tissue morphogenesis. Submitted to Development – currently being
    revised for submission to Developmental Biology.
  • Künnapuu, J., Tauscher, P., Tiusanen, N., Nguyen, M., Löytynoja, A., Arora, K*. and O. Shimmi,*
    Cleavage of the Drosophila Screw prodomain is critical for a dynamic BMP morphogen gradient in
    embryogenesis. Under revision at Developmental Biology – this manuscript received positive
    reviews and is currently being revised for resubmission. *Corresponding authors.
  • Ellis, J. E., Parker, J. L. Cho, J. and K. Arora. (2010) Activin signaling functions upstream of Gbb to regulate synaptic growth at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. Developmental Biology 342, 121-33.
  • Pentek, J., Parker, J. L., Wu, A. and K. Arora. (2009) Follistatin preferentially antagonizes Activin rather than BMP signaling. Genesis 47, 261-73.
  • Yao, L-C., Phin, S., Cho, J., Rushlow, C., Arora, K. and R. Warrior#. (2008) Multiple modular promoter elements drive graded brinker expression in response to the Dpp morphogen gradient. Development 135, 2183-92.
  • Parker, J. L., Ellis, J. E., Nguyen, M. and K. Arora. (2006) The divergent TGF-ß ligand Dawdle utilizes an activin signaling pathway to influence axon guidance in Drosophila. Development 133, 4981-91.
  • Yao, L-C., Blitz, I. L., Peiffer, D. A., Phin, S., Wang, Y., Ogata, S., Cho, K. C., Arora, K. and R. Warrior#. (2006) Schnurri transcription factors from Drosophila and vertebrates can mediate BMP signaling through a phylogenetically conserved mechanism. Development 133, 4025-34

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