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Stressed out: Mechanisms of how C. elegans copes with unfavorable environments

Posted by on April 19th, 2018

Sarah E. Hall Department of Biology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244   For over a century, the nature versus nurture debate has questioned the relative contributions of genetic sequences and the environment to the phenotype of an individual (Galton 1869). Genome-wide association studies in humans have shown that environmental stress experienced in utero or during[…]

A journey towards uncovering the mechanics of embryonic polarization

Posted by on February 17th, 2018

The key results of our recent paper in Nature Cell Biology   Cell polarization defines the spatial biological specificities in a cell. During the first cell cycle of a C. elegans zygote, its symmetry is broken by local remodeling of the cortical actomyosin network. This leads to a segregation of the dedicated polarity regulators, the PAR[…]

The Tails of Fate

Posted by on January 18th, 2018

The epic journey of embryogenesis begins with a set of maternal instructions. These instructions are in the form of transcribed mRNA, some even translated into proteins and ready for action. However, many of the critical maternal mRNAs are inactive and must be delivered to the right cell and activated at the right time to encode[…]

Glia lead the way for pioneers to build the brain neuropil in C. elegans

Posted by on October 20th, 2017

It’s all about the wires. But what about the glue? Networks make us who we are. I am not talking about social networks but about neural networks that define how we perceive the world and how we act. For a century, neuroscientists have sought to understand functions of neural networks in condition and how such[…]

The people behind the papers – Dan Dickinson

Posted by on September 29th, 2017

Cell polarisation is crucial for normal development and controlled by complex molecular interactions in the cytoplasm and at the membrane. Today we feature a paper recently published in Developmental Cell that describes  a single-cell biochemistry technique and its insights into polarity protein dynamics the developing worm embryo. We caught up with first author Dan Dickinson, who carried out the work as a postdoc[…]

The people behind the papers – Diane Shakes & friends

Posted by on September 20th, 2017

Development often involves the asymmetric partitioning of cellular components to daughters, and this process is crucial for successful gametogenesis. Today’s paper, published in the current issue of Development, explores the cytoskeletal mechanisms of spermatogenesis in different nematode species. We met the multi-lab team behind the work, starting with Diane Shakes (The College of William and Mary in[…]

The people behind the papers: Thanh Vuong-Brender & Michel Labouesse

Posted by on March 30th, 2017

This year marks the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form, an attempt to outline the physical and mathematical principles underpinning the generation of biological form. Modern day developmental biologists, bolstered by new technologies, have taken up Thompson’s cause to try to understand the mechanics of development, particularly with regard to morphogenesis. While the generation[…]

Uncovering Non-canonical Roles of E-cadherin Beyond Cell Adhesion

Posted by on February 14th, 2017

Broad perspective Successful division was an essential criterion for establishing the cell as the basic unit of life on earth. Later, cell-cell adhesion made possible the evolution of multicellular life forms. These two fundamental cellular processes co-function throughout the life of an organism, during development, wound healing and tissue regeneration. In epithelial tissues this results[…]

Developing the auxin-inducible degradation (AID) system for versatile conditional protein depletion in C. elegans

Posted by on March 19th, 2016

By Liangyu Zhang and Abby F. Dernburg    The nematode Caenorhabidis elegans is among the most widely used and powerful model organisms for studying mechanisms underlying cellular and developmental processes. Although a variety of approaches for conditional protein expression have been developed in C. elegans, available tools for conditional protein depletion are far more limited,[…]

An interview with Philip Zegerman

Posted by on September 15th, 2015

This interview first featured in the Journal of Cell Science and is part of their interview series Cell Scientists to Watch   Philip Zegerman earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge, where he later also pursued a PhD in the lab of Tony Kouzarides at the Gurdon Institute. For his postdoctoral work, he switched[…]