Studium der Biologie: Universität Freiburg
- Promotion: Universität Freiburg
-Postdoctoral research associate: Universität Köln Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie
- Postdoctoral research associate: University of California, Berkeley, HHMI (Berkeley, USA)
- Gruppenleiter am Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Köln
- Habilitation in Entwicklungsbiologie: Universität Köln
- Professor für Neurobiologie an der WWU Münster
- Molekulare Genetik
- Entwicklung des Nervensystems
- Neuron-Glia Interaktion
- Dynamik des Zytoskeletts
Cell migration is a key feature of complex multi-cellular organisms. Especially during the formation of the nervous system, cell migrations are of particular importance. Here, migration occurs at the level of cell compartments as seen in axonal migration and at the level of individual cells, where – as a main difference – the cell body moves as well. Within the nervous system both neuronal and glial cells are able to migrate over often quite long distances and their intricate interplay guarantees the formation of the stereotyped axonal network found in many metazoan organisms. In the Drosophila CNS, migration of the midline glial cells is required for the establishment of the segmental commissures. A block of this migration leads to a typical mutant CNS phenotype. We have identified a large number of genes required for midline glia migration that currently under study.
In the larval PNS the developing photoreceptor cells send their axons through the so-called optic stalk to the brain. Here, glial cells are born which migrate towards to the photoreceptor cells along the optic stalk. Recent analysis has shown that these glial cells are guided by a signal released from the developing photoreceptor cells in the eye disc. Analysis of this population of migratory cells is linked to a second genetic project that was conducted in order to identify additional genes required for the cell migration. In contrast to the midline glia, peripheral glia cells have to migrate over relatively long distances along well-defined axonal tracts. We have saturated the X-chromosome for mutations affecting this process and are currently characterizing the isolated mutations in further detail.
Among the projects in the lab we are following the migration of single glial cells in the larval eye disc labeled by GFP expression in vivo using spinning disc microscopy as well as in vitro in tissue culture models. In parallel we are analyzing genes that were identified in our phenotypic screen. We are focusing on mutations affecting the migration and differentiation of glial cells. In the following two examples are given. The gene kästchen was found to affect a large number of migratory processes in a non-autonomous manner. Beside disruption glial cell migration it also affects migration of mesodermal and tracheal cells. We have cloned the kästchen gene and found the Kästchen protein at the cell membrane. Currently we are following a number of in vitro and genetic strategies to determine the molecular function of the Kästchen protein.
Cell migration obviously depends on a dynamic cytoskeleton. We are analyzing the formation of the F-actin cytoskeleton using genetic and biochemical tools. We currently focus our interest on the role of the genes kette, abi and wasp.
Please contact us for further information on individual projects in the lab.
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