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K-State Today

September 30, 2021

Lesley Weaver to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Lesley Weaver, assistant professor of biology at Indiana University, will present "Regulation of Oogenesis by Nuclear Receptor Signaling" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4, via Zoom.

The coupling of organism physiology and reproduction is essential for species survival. Nuclear receptors, or NRs, are widely expressed transcription factors that mediate the effects of many circulating factors to modulate physiology and reproduction. Weaver's research focuses on an understudied aspect of nuclear receptor signaling in the control of oogenesis. Specifically, Weaver is investigating how the functions of two nuclear receptors — Svp and HR4, the homologs of COUP-TFs and GCNF — in various somatic tissues are integrated to regulate the germline stem cell, or GSC, lineage in the Drosophila ovary. In contrast to many studies focused on the intrinsic roles of nuclear receptor signaling within specific cell types, Weaver will investigate the circulating factors downstream of Svp and HR4 that remotely regulate various steps of the GSC lineage. For example, Weaver's postdoctoral work has revealed that global reduction of Svp activity in somatic cells leads to a reduction in egg laying, GSC maintenance, and survival of early germline cysts and vitellogenic egg chambers. Interestingly, Weaver found that Svp is required in distinct tissues to control different processes of oogenesis. Furthermore, Weaver has found that Svp regulates the expression of genes involved in immunity and detoxification in fat cells, which may impact successful oogenesis. These results suggest that NRs can have multiple parallel roles in controlling reproduction and that secreted molecules from peripheral tissues can communicate with the ovary to influence oogenesis. As an independent investigator, Weaver's lab has continued to address how communication between the ovary and various endocrine organs regulates oogenesis to ensure reproductive fitness.

If you would like to visit with Weaver, please contact Kristin Michel at kmichel@k-state.edu

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