A-K Classen: Cellular junctions as force anchors during epithelial shape transitions

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Principal investigator

Dr. Anne-Kathrin Classen

Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Center for Biological Systems Analysis
 

Habsburger Strasse 49
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau

 

anne.classen(a)zbsa.uni-freiburg.de

Homepage

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SPP funded collaborator

Ramya Balaji

Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Center for Biological Systems Analysis
 

Habsburger Strasse 49
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau

 

ramya.balaji(at)mail.zbsa.uni-freiburg.de

Summary

Epithelial tissues cover organ surfaces throughout our body and fulfill crucial functions such as protection, secretion and absorption. The diversity of epithelial tissue shapes is a consequence of cytoskeleton dynamics, cell-cell adhesion and cell-matrix interactions. The aim of this proposal is to specifically explore cell biological, genetic and biomechanical mechanisms that promote morphogenesis of squamous, cuboidal and columnar cell shapes.
We investigate the hypothesis that cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic forces are being integrated at the level of cell-cell adhesion to allow for cuboidal-to-columnar and cuboidal-to-squamous cell shape transitions in the Drosophila follicle cell epithelium. The richness in cell shapes, a simple architecture and the easy microscopic tractability makes the follicle cell epithelium an ideal model system for this study. We propose to merge classical cell biological and genetic analysis with a quantitative framework for a 3D mathematical modeling of the cellular forces during shape transitions. Our work will provide novel interdisciplinary insights into a little understood, but profoundly fundamental aspect of epithelial morphogenesis.

Expertise

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