University of Münster
Morphogenesis of epithelial tubes, mechanism of lumen fusion, formation of epithelial tricellular junctions, hypoxia signaling
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Our research addresses molecular, cellular, developmental, and functional aspects of epithelial biology. In particular, we are focusing on understanding how the dimensions and shapes of epithelial tubes are controlled. Defects in epithelial tube size lead to serious diseases, including polycystic kidney disease, vascular aneurisms, and stroke. Despite this medical significance, it is not understood how cells measure, adjust, and maintain defined tubular dimensions. We use the Drosophila tracheal (respiratory) system, a network of gas-filled tubes, as an accessible model for the far more complicated situation in vertebrates. We have previously focused on the process of embryonic tracheal tube expansion, during which the tracheae rapidly expand their initially narrow lumen to reach their mature, functional dimensions. We analyze this process using a combination of genetic, molecular, and imaging approaches. In systematic mutagenesis screens we isolated a large set of mutations affecting morphological features, such as tube length, diameter, and shape, as well as cellular processes, such as secretion and endocytosis. Second, we are using genome-wide mRNA expression profiling using DNA microarrays to identify genes expressed in tubular epithelia. Third, we apply advanced live imaging and cell labeling techniques to analyze cellular behavior during tube morphogenesis in a quantitative fashion at the single-cell level.
22446736, 22349697, 20045324, 16431371, 16537387, 15166158
epithelial morphogenesis, tracheal development, tubulogenesis, tube size control, genetic screens, whole-genome resequencing, extracellular matrix, secretion, COPII, COPI, Src, hypoxia
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