Epithelial Morphogenesis


Developmental Biology has had much success in uncovering the hierarchies that govern pattern. However, there has been less success in understanding how sheets of cells respond to organizing signals, and actually make that pattern. Thus, we study how signaling pathways direct the cytoskeletal biology of responding cells. To attack this, we study three, cell biological outputs of developmental signals in the fruitfly embryonic epidermis.

Output 1:  Remodeling cell-cell interfaces

A common, but little understood event that drives epithelial morphogenesis, so  fundamental to constructing tissues. How do specific interfaces become singled out for remodeling, while others remain untouched?  Importantly, how is that information communicated across the sheet of cells to coordinate its morphogenesis?

Output 2:  Shaping actin-based, apical protrusions

Such protrusions constitute brush border microvilli, sensory bristles, and hair cell stereocilia.  Making these protrusions properly and organizing their pattern across an epithelium is required for proper tissue function.

Output 3:  Planar Polarity

Planar Polarity is a fundamental property of all epithelia. And, while the proteins involved are conserved from fruitfly to us, it remains unclear just how these proteins define coordinates of a cell, and, importantly, how how this information is choreographed across a field of cells.

Morphogenesis folks

research assistant
Undergrad: Swarthmore College
Contact: scanlone@mail.med.upenn.edu
Research Interest: 
The re-aligment of epithelial cells during morphogenesis

Ph.D.: Adelaide University

Contact: kynan@mail.med.upenn.edu
Research Interest: 
Establishment & Propagation of Planar Polarity

Donoughe, S.  DiNardo S.
dachsous and frizzled contribute separately to planar polarity in the Drosophila ventral epidermis Development 138: 2751-2759 (2011) doi:10.1242/dev.063024 PMCID: PMC3109600 

Dilks SA and DiNardo S. 
Non-Autonomous Control of Denticle Diversity in the Drosophila Embryo. Development 137: 1395-1402, April 2010. PMCID: PMC2847471 

Simone, R. and DiNardo, S. 
Actomyosin contractility and Discs-large contribute to junctional conversion in guiding cell alignment within the Drosophila embryonic epithelium. Development, 137(8):1385-1394 April 2010; Cover image; PMCID: PMC2847470

Walters JW, Dilks SA, DiNardo S.
Planar polarization of the denticle field in the Drosophila embryo: roles for Myosin II (zipper) and fringe. Developmental Biology 297(2): 323-39, Sep 15 2006.

Hatini V, Green RB, Lengyel JA, Bray SJ and DiNardo S. The Drumstick/Lines/Bowl regulatory pathway links antagonistic Hedgehog and Wingless signaling inputs to epidermal cell differentiation. Genes & Development 19: 709 - 718, 2005.

recent publications