Prof Kyra Campbell

University of Sheffield

Making a midgut: mechanisms driving cell migration and MET during Drosophila midgut morphogenesis

During development many epithelial cells undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to facilitate their migration through the embryo. However, once they arrive at distant sites these cells often undergo a reverse mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) as they form epithelial tissues and organs. Despite its importance for both normal and pathological processes, very little is known about the regulation of MET in vivo, including its relationship to EMTs. We exploit midgut morphogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the cell behaviours and molecular mechanisms underlying epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity as well as the collective migration of heterogeneous cell types. We combine deep-tissue live imaging, 4-D cell tracking and super-resolution microscopy approaches with the sophisticated Drosophila genetic toolbox. In this seminar, I will give an overview of what we know about epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and cell migration during morphogenesis of the embryonic midgut epithelium, as well as present some of the more recent results from my lab.