One of the key processes in the animal development is morphogenesis, the process by which the shape of tissues / organs is formed. During development, many morphogenetic events involve rearrangement of simple 2D cell layers into complex 3D tissues. In the last several decades experiments on different model organisms has revealed that certain group of highly conserved signaling molecules are repeatedly utilized in various stages and processes of development. Despite the increasing knowledge of the molecular basis of morphogenesis, how the activity of these signaling pathways is translated into changes in cell behavior and how cell shape changes affect developmental signaling, remain poorly understood. Since morphogenesis involves coordinated dynamic cellular processes (e.g. cytoskeleton remodeling, cell migration, cell shape changes, cell proliferation), tracking morphogenetic events in a spatial-temporal manner is crucial for understanding the mechanisms of development.
Our team uses the developing wing of the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) as a model to elucidate, how the dynamics of tissue morphogenesis and communication between cells are regulated. We expect that our projects will provide novel insights into how dynamics cell-cell communication leads to 3D morphogenesis, and anticipate that our findings will have implications for understanding human pathogenesis of developmental disorders.
Image used in header: The developing wing of the Drosophila melanogaster (author: Osamu Shimmi)
TÜMRI arengubioloogia õppetooli juhataja, kaasprofessor Tambet Tõnissoo, kirjutab ajakirjas Eesti Loodus teemal: „Kuhu küll kõik karvad jäid?“ Eesti Loodus, 03.2022