Asst. Prof. Dr. Necla BIRGÜL-IYISON

Boğaziçi University
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Kuzey Park, 313
34342 Bebek - Istanbul
+90 (212) 359 xxxx
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Wnt/beta-catenin signalling in cancer

In Cancer Signaling Laboratory (CSL), we are focusing on two main subjects. Our first topic of focus is identification and characterization of novel molecules interacting with the downstream elements of Wnt/β catenin pathway during cancer formation and progression. Several molecules in this pathway are associated with different carcinomas. Our group performed differential expression analysis upon overexpression of constitutively active β-catenin mutant in hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines via SAGE/Microarray approach. We aim to identify novel molecules, which are implicated in carcinogenesis.

Allatostatin receptor function

The second subject we are focusing on are neuropeptides, specifically allatostatins. Allatostatins (ASTs) are originally described as inhibitors of juvenile hormone (JH) synthesis in insects. However, they also play various roles in muscular activity suppression, feeding behavior and vitellogenesis. ASTs display their activity by interacting with their cognate allatostatin receptors (AlstR). AlstRs are members of the GPCR family. GPCRs are involved in various diseases and are the major targets for about 60% of pharmaceuticals. Our group has recently focused on the identification of AlstR-C receptor of C. morosus (CamAlstR-C). Bioinformatics modeling, docking tools were used to elucidate structural features of CamAsltR-C interaction pattern with its ligand. This interaction was verified in vivo via atomic force microscopy (AFM) and binding force was detected in CamAlstR-C overexpressed cells. The binding pocket was predicted bioinformatically and were verified by site directed mutagenesis. We are interested in designing a pesticide based on the structural data we obtain.

Selected Publications

  • Najafov A, Even I, Hoxhaj G, Selvi O, Şeker T, Koman A and Birgul-Iyison N (2012)
    Wnt/beta-Catenin pathway regulates transcription of actin-regulatory protein MENA.
    PLoS ONE 7(5): e37013.

  • Kavak E, Najafov A, Ozturk N, Seker T, Cavusoglu K, Aslan T, Duru AD, Saygili T, Hoxhaj G, Hiz MC, Ozer-Unal D, Birgul-Iyison N, Ozturk M, and Koman A (2010)
    Analysis of the Wnt/B-catenin/TCF4 pathway using SAGE, genome-wide microarray and promoter analysis: Identification of BRI3 and HSF2 as novel targets.
Cellular Signalling , 22:523-1535.

  • Isler C, Tanriverdi T, Kavak E, Sanus GZ, Ulu MO, Erkanlı G, Koman A, Birgül-Iyison N, and Uzan M (2008) Prenatal Expressions of Hyperpolarization Cyclic-Nucleotide-Gated Channel (HCN) Genes in Dysplastic Hippocampi in Rats, Türkish Neurosurgery, 18(4):327-335.

  • Kreienkamp HJ, Larusson HJ, Witte I, Roeder T, Birgul N, Honck HH, Harder S, Ellinghausen G, Buck F, and Richter D (2002)
    Functional annotation of two orphan G-protein-coupled receptors, Drostar1 and -2, from Drosophila melanogaster and their ligands by reverse pharmacology.
    J Biol Chem., 277(42):39937-43.

  • Auerswald L, Birgul N, Gade G, Kreienkamp HJ, and Richter D (2001)
    Structural, functional, and evolutionary characterization of novel members of the allatostatin receptor family from insects.
    Biochem Biophys Res Commun., 282(4):904-9.

  • Birgul N, Weise C, Kreienkamp HJ, and Richter D (1999)
    Reverse physiology in drosophila: identification of a novel allatostatin-like neuropeptide and its cognate receptor structurally related to the mammalian somatostatin/galanin/opioid receptor family.
    EMBO Journal, 18(21):5892-900.