Molecular, Cell, Development (MCD) Seminar Series - McMaster University
2008-09 || 2009-10 || 2010-11 || 2011-12 || 2012-13

Molecular, Cell, Development (MCD) SEMINAR SERIES
Department of Biology

Speaker: Dr. Julie Brill

Date: Friday 10th, May 2013
Time: 12 noon
Location: HSC 1A5

Title: PIPs control cell morphogenesis in Drosophila

Phosphatidylinositol (PI) phosphates (PIPs) are membrane lipids with critical roles in cell growth, signaling and morphogenesis. Alterations in the levels of PIPs are associated with human diseases such as cancer. However, little is known about the normal roles of PIPs during animal development. My research investigates the roles of PIPs and their regulatory enzymes using powerful molecular genetic approaches available in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We have created Drosophila mutants and transgenic lines that enable us to perturb and study PIPs in different tissues in the fly. We have also generated transgenic flies expressing fluorescent protein fusions that allow us to examine the distribution of PIPs and PIP pathway targets and enzymes in individual cells and tissues in real time. Using these tools, we have uncovered roles for PI 4-phosphate (PI4P) and PI 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and PIP pathway enzymes in cytokinesis, gametogenesis and organelle biogenesis. Our current studies focus on understanding the roles of PIPs in these processes, deciphering how the activity of PIP regulatory enzymes is controlled in response to cellular and developmental signals, and identifying downstream targets and effectors of PIP signaling. As PIPs and their regulatory enzymes are found in all eukaryotes, our research will identify conserved cellular mechanisms fundamental to human development and disease.