Tissue Patterning and Morphogenesis
The main interest of our laboratory is to understand mechanisms underlying cell fate determination by cell signaling. We focus on the two highly conserved signaling pathways, the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and use fruit fly egg formation, oogenesis, as a model system.
The egg chamber (left) is the precursor of the mature egg (right). The oocyte is surrounded by a layer of follicle cells (FCs), which derive the formation of the 3D intricate structures of the Drosophila eggshell.
Eggshell structures, such as the dorsal appendages (DAs), are formed by two non-overlapping populations of cells. Cells expressing Rhomboid (Rho) form the future floor of the DAs, and cells expressing Broad (BR) form the future roof of the DAs. Other structures include the operculum (Op – an opening for larvae hatching), and a micropyle (M – the point of sperm entry).
We are interested to study the evolution of BMP signaling dynamics across Drosophila species. In addition, we aim to understand how spatiotemporal changes in the activation of EGFR by the ligand Gurken derive the formation of morphological novelties on eggshells of numerous Drosophila species.