Any complex nervous system comprises two cell types: Neurons and glial cells. Once glial cells are specified, they often migrate to reach their final destinations within the developing nervous system.
Any complex nervous system comprises two cell types: Neurons and glial cells. Once glial cells are specified, they often migrate to reach their final destinations within the developing nervous system. In fact, cell motility is a glial hallmark and their extensive migratory abilities are fatal when combined with uncontrolled cell division as seen in human gliomas. In the embryonic Drosophila PNS, most glial cells are born in the CNS and have to migrate to reach their final destinations. In the past we have identified several genes that are required for the migration of these cells and have initiated a genome wide RNA interference approach to identify all genes required for glial migration in the larval optic nerve.
The current projects focus on the role of axons in guiding glial migration. What molecules must be presented by the axon to allow glial migration? What are the glial receptors? How is glial migration stopped at genetically determined positions? In this context we study the role of FGF-receptor function as well as the role of several yet uncharacterized genes. Moreover we assay whether Drosophila can be used as a model to better understand the biology of human gliomas. The perspective of this lab focus is to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying glial migration in flies and humans.