Analysis of new actin regulators controlling cell shape, cell dynamics and cell polarity in Drosophila hemocytes

A. Structured illumination microscopy image of Drosophila pupal hemocytes stained with phalloidin (white, F-actin) and DAPI (blue, nuclei). A’. A subset of the lamellipodium is enlarged from image A (dashed line). A’’. Schematic drawing of a branched actin network (white-grey) at the lamellipodium tip.
B. Hemocyte-specific knockdown of an actin regulator (marked by EGFP expression, arrows) results in a loss of lamellipodia. Asterisks mark embryonic wild type hemocytes.
C. In vivo spinning disc microscopy of pupal macrophages. Frames of a time-lapse video of a wild type macrophage imaged in the pupal wing, visualized by the expression of cytoplasmic EGFP. The rectangle in the pupa indicates the recording position.
© Sven Bogdan

Principal investigators: Sven Bogdan, Xiaoyi Jiang
Project time: 07/2013 - 06/2016
Project code: FF-2013-03

Drosophila blood cells (hemocytes) are an excellent model system for studying conserved gene functions in actin dynamics driven processes such as directional cell migration, phagocytosis or wound healing in a physiological environment. In order to identify new gene functions required for cell shape and cell migration we started to perform a RNAi screen in Drosophila hemocytes. High-resolution SIM and Spinning-Disc imaging techniques allows a precise phenotypic analysis of gene knockdown ex vivo and in vivo. Computational image analysis will complement this qualitative analysis and allows a classification of cellular morphologies or migration defects.

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