How neurons talk to the blood: sensory regulation of hematopoiesis and other Drosophila models

Speaker Name: 
Katja Brückner
Speaker Organization: 
UC San Francisco
Start Time: 
Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 12:00pm
End Time: 
Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 1:00pm
200 Biomedical Sciences Building
Camilla Forsberg

Abstract: Genetics and the environment work together to direct the development and homeostasis of animal tissues. Using a Drosophila melanogaster model of hematopoiesis, we investigate how sensory inputs and the activation of the peripheral nervous system regulate progenitors and self-renewing blood cells. During Drosophila larval development, hematopoietic sites are in direct contact with sensory neuron clusters of the peripheral nervous system (PNS).  Blood cells (hemocytes) functionally require the PNS for their proliferation, survival and recruitment to these microenvironments, known as Hematopoietic Pockets (HPs). We study the molecular signals that regulate this communication, their upstream sensory inputs, and long-term consequences for the adult fly. We suggest parallels with the vertebrate lineage of self-renewing tissue macrophages, whose local regulation remains enigmatic in vertebrate systems. In addition, the lab investigates how signaling pathways and their crosstalk control blood cell number and direct cell behaviors in epithelial plasticity, using specific Drosophila cell-based models combined with RNAi screening, phosphoproteomics, and transcriptome analyses.