Wednesday, 13th December 2017

Development and Regeneration

     Control of cell proliferation and organ regeneration through intercellular signals







Antonio Baonza







Research summary:

The final size of multicellular organisms largely depends on the control of cell divisionregulate by different intercellular signals during the development. Several signalling pathways have been involved in this regulation during Drosophila development. Changes in the normal function of these signals cause variation in the normal parameters of cell proliferation. Interestingly, the members of most of these signalling pathways have been well conserved throughout evolution and play an important role in control of cell proliferation in a wide range of organisms, including human. Alterations in the activity of some of the human homologues of members of these signalling pathways are implicated in many cancers.


Pattern of cell proliferation of an imaginal wing discs over-expressingunder the regulation of patch-Gal4 a serine/threonine Kinase thatinduces an excess of cell proliferation.
In red the mitotic marker Phospho-Histone3, in green the actine marker phalloidin and in blue are shown the cells that express GFP in the domain of expression of patch.



The overall goals of my group are to understand how signalling pathways control cell proliferation through the regulation of the activity and/or expression of different transcription factor during Drosophila development; to use this knowledge to gain insight into the general mechanisms by which extrinsic signals regulate cell division.
Our results suggest that the transcriptional repressors of the Helix-loop-Helix (HLH) family play a critical role mediating the control of cell proliferation by different signalling pathways. We are interesting in to study the molecular mechanisms by which this family of proteins control normal and abnormal cell cycle progression.

Other problem in which we are interested is to understand how organ regeneration is controlled. The importance of understanding how this occurs has significance at different levels. One issue is to learn more about the normal mechanism that operate during development. Other important point is that the knowledge that we can gain about the general mechanisms that regulate regeneration may help to develop new therapeutic approach in regenerative medicine. We have developed a new method to remove a part of the wing imaginal disc inside the larva. Using this method, we can study the process of regeneration in its normal developmental context. Moreover, we can analyse the adult pattern of the regenerating structure and we can take advantage of all the genetic tools available in Drosophila.


Latest publications:

  • San Juan, B.P., Andrade-Zapata, I., and Baonza, A. (2012) The bHLHfactorsDpn and members of the E(spl) complexmediate the function of Notch signalling regulating cell proliferation during wing disc development. Biol Open. 1(7), 667-76.
  • San-Juán, B.P., and Baonza, A. (2011) The bHLH factor deadpanis a direct target of Notchsignaling and regulates neuroblast self-renewal in Drosophila. Dev Biol. 352(1), 70-82.