Prof Sally Horne-Badovinac

University of Chicago

Going in circles gets you somewhere – signaling mechanisms that coordinate cell movements for epithelial migration.

The collective migration of epithelial cells underlies tissue remodeling events associated with morphogenesis, wound repair, and the spread of many cancers. For an epithelium to migrate in a directed way, the cytoskeletal machinery that powers each cell’s motility must become aligned across in the direction of tissue movement. Using the follicular epithelium of Drosophila, my lab studies how this tissue-level alignment is achieved. In the first half of the talk, I will discuss our work on a planar signaling system that determines where leading-edge protrusions form in each cell, as well as our efforts to understand how these initially local signals are propagated to polarize the epithelium for directed migration. In the second half of the talk, I will discuss how stress fibers become aligned across the tissue through a modular program of assembly and disassembly.