Cell Polarity in Development and Evolution

Group leader

Cell polarity results from the asymmetric distribution of molecular complexes or cellular structures such as the centrioles. Centrioles form the core of the centrosome, the main organizer of the microtubule cytoskeleton in animal cells. Centrioles are also required for assembling cellular cilia, involved among other things in cell signaling and generating fluid flows underlying the establishment of left/right asymmetry and mucus clearance in the airway.
Development of a multicellular organism involves the integration of cell and organism polarities. Our goal is to understand how centrioles are positioned in response to morphogenetic cues.

We are studying multiciliated epithelia involved in generating directional fluid flows, such as the flow of mucus in the airway (mucus clearance) and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain ventricles. Defects in the orientation of centrioles in these tissues can result in chronic respiratory infections and a severe neurological defect called hydrocephaly.
Our model system is the planarian (Schmidtea mediterranea), a flatworm that relies on a multicilia