Junior group leader
University of Münster, Excellence cluster "Cells in Motion"
I am interested in the remodeling of fly PNS neurons during metamorphosis.
Many types of neurons lose axons and dendrites through retraction or degeneration as part of their development. Such regressive neuro-developmental mechanisms are collectively referred to as „pruning“. In the fly Drosophila, pruning occurs at large scale during metamorphosis. For example, the peripheral sensory c4da neurons have long and branched dendrites in larvae which are completely pruned during the pupal stage. Dendrite pruning is a stunning example of spatial regulation: in the dendrites, the cytoskeleton is locally destroyed, and the plasma membrane is precisely cut at a predetermined break site. Furthermore, caspases are activated locally in severed dendrites. All the while, the cytoskeleton and membrane of the cell body and axon are maintained, and these structures remain untouched. C4da neuron dendrite pruning can be easily followed by live imaging over extended periods of time. Together with the formidable genetics of the fly, this is a powerful system to identify the cell biological mechanisms underlying pruning. One particular interest is the ubiquitin system, which is required for pruning in several systems.
dendrite morphogenesis, pruning, ubiquitin
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