Control of Cell Polarity

Epithelial tissues in multicellular organisms are characterised by a pronounced apico-basal polarity, which is manifested in the asymmetric distribution of organelles and cytoplasmic proteins, and in the differentiation of the plasma membrane into two distinct domains, the apical and the baso-lateral domains. These domains can be further subdivided into spatially and functionally distinct regions.

Work in our group is aimed to understand the cellular, molecular and genetic mechanisms that control the establishment and maintenance of epithelial cell polarity and that are required to pattern the cell membrane and underlying cytocortex into functionally distinct domains. Studies to answer these questions are performed in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, the zebrafish Danio rerio and in cells in culture.

A. Epidermis of the Drosophila embryo stained with Stranded-at-Second (red) and Neurotactin (green) to label the apical and basal side, respectively.