An Investigation on the Role and Regulation of Signal Transduction Pathways during Embryonic Wound Healing

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Jingjing Li


The thesis "An Investigation on the Role and Regulation of Signal Transduction Pathways during Embryonic Wound Healing" was composed by Jingjing Li and was submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Faculty of Life Sciences on September 28th, 2012.For years, it has been appreciated that embryos have remarkable abilities to heal wounds efficiently and perfectly, without scar formation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic wound healing, especially how they coordinate and function in an efficient way, remains poorly understood. The primary aim of my PhD thesis was to use Xenopus as a model system to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms which are responsible for the regulation and coordination of embryonic wound healing. More specifically, my thesis includes the study of three signalling pathways during embryonic wound healing; namely the Erk MAPK pathway, PI3K pathway and inositol phosphate pathways. Erk and PI3K signalling are sequentially activated post injury, during separate phases of wound closure. The initial activation of Erk signalling governs the initial stage of wound closure, by mediating myosin-2 phosphorylation and actomyosin contraction through Rho activity. PI3K signalling increases in the late stage of wound closure, promotes leading edge migration and zippering via Rac and Cdc42 activity (Manuscript #1). From the findings of this study, I proposed a novel model, which suggests a cooperation of these two signalling pathways in orchestrating distinct cytoskeletal events during in tissue morphogenesis. In the second part of my thesis, I studied the role of inositol phosphate signalling during wound healing. In particular, I studied the role of the enzyme Itpkb and its product InsP4, in promoting rapid wound healing (Manuscript #2). Itpkb colocalizes with F-actin cable and promotes its formation at the wound edge in both single cell and multicellular wounds, enhancing the activity of three Rho GTPases Rac, Cdc42 and Rho at the same time. In addition, itpkb is required for calcium propagation from the wound edge to distant cells, suggesting a role in transmitting the wound signal across the tissue, resulting in the coordination of healing in multicellular wounds. Together, these PhD work provided more insights into the in vivo regulation of intracellular and intercellular signals in coordinating cell behavior in tissue movement during embryonic wound healing.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2013