Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, DBIO-PHD (2021)
B.S., University of California Santa Barbara, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2013)
Lucy O'Brien, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
The nature of cell division forces in epithelial monolayers.
The Journal of cell biology
2021; 220 (8)
Epithelial cells undergo striking morphological changes during division to ensure proper segregation of genetic and cytoplasmic materials. These morphological changes occur despite dividing cells being mechanically restricted by neighboring cells, indicating the need for extracellular force generation. Beyond driving cell division itself, forces associated with division have been implicated in tissue-scale processes, including development, tissue growth, migration, and epidermal stratification. While forces generated by mitotic rounding are well understood, forces generated after rounding remain unknown. Here, we identify two distinct stages of division force generation that follow rounding: (1) Protrusive forces along the division axis that drive division elongation, and (2) outward forces that facilitate postdivision spreading. Cytokinetic ring contraction of the dividing cell, but not activity of neighboring cells, generates extracellular forces that propel division elongation and contribute to chromosome segregation. Forces from division elongation are observed in epithelia across many model organisms. Thus, division elongation forces represent a universal mechanism that powers cell division in confining epithelia.
View details for DOI 10.1083/jcb.202011106
View details for PubMedID 34132746
- Long-term live imaging of the Drosophila adult midgut reveals real-time dynamics of division, differentiation and loss ELIFE 2018; 7
Long-term live imaging of the Drosophila adult midgut reveals real-time dynamics of division, differentiation, and loss.
Organ renewal is governed by the dynamics of cell division, differentiation, and loss. To study these dynamics in real time, we present a platform for extended live imaging of the adult Drosophila midgut, a premier genetic model for stem cell-based organs. A window cut into a living animal allows the midgut to be imaged while intact and physiologically functioning. This approach prolongs imaging sessions to 12-16 hours and yields movies that document cell and tissue dynamics at vivid spatiotemporal resolution. Applying a pipeline for movie processing and analysis, we uncover new, intriguing cell behaviors: that mitotic stem cells dynamically re-orient, that daughter cells use slow kinetics of Notch activation to reach a fate-specifying threshold, and that enterocytes extrude via ratcheted constriction of a junctional ring. By enabling real-time study of midgut phenomena that were previously inaccessible, our platform opens a new realm for dynamic understanding of adult organ renewal.
View details for PubMedID 30427308
Molecular evolution and in vitro characterization of Botryllus histocompatibility factor
2015; 67 (10): 605-623
Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial ascidian with a natural ability to anastomose with another colony to form a vascular and hematopoietic chimera. In order to fuse, two individuals must share at least one allele at the highly polymorphic fuhc locus. Otherwise, a blood-based inflammatory response will occur resulting in a melanin scar at the sites of interaction. The single-locus genetic control of allorecognition makes B. schlosseri an attractive model to study the underlying molecular mechanisms. Over the past decade, several candidate genes involved in allorecognition have been identified, but how they ultimately contribute to allorecognition outcome remains poorly understood. Here, we report our initial molecular characterization of a recently identified candidate allodeterminant called Botryllus histocompatibility factor (bhf). bhf, both on a DNA and protein level, is the least polymorphic protein in the fuhc locus studied so far and, unlike other known allorecognition determinants, does not appear to be under any form of balancing or directional selection. Additionally, we identified a second isoform through mRNA-Seq and an EST assembly library which is missing exon 3, resulting in a C-terminally truncated form. We report via whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization that a subset of cells co-express bhf and cfuhc(sec). Finally, we observed BHF's localization in HEK293T at the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane in addition to the nucleus via a nuclear localization signal. Given the localization data thus far, we hypothesize that BHF may function as a scaffolding protein in a complex with other Botryllus proteins, rather than functioning as an allorecognition determinant.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00251-015-0870-1
View details for Web of Science ID 000361541300005
View details for PubMedID 26359175
Analysis of the basal chordate Botryllus schlosseri reveals a set of genes associated with fertility
Gonad differentiation is an essential function for all sexually reproducing species, and many aspects of these developmental processes are highly conserved among the metazoa. The colonial ascidian, Botryllus schlosseri is a chordate model organism which offers two unique traits that can be utilized to characterize the genes underlying germline development: a colonial life history and variable fertility. These properties allow individual genotypes to be isolated at different stages of fertility and gene expression can be characterized comprehensively.Here we characterized the transcriptome of both fertile and infertile colonies throughout blastogenesis (asexual development) using differential expression analysis. We identified genes (as few as 7 and as many as 647) regulating fertility in Botryllus at each stage of blastogenesis. Several of these genes appear to drive gonad maturation, as they are expressed by follicle cells surrounding both testis and oocyte precursors. Spatial and temporal expression of differentially expressed genes was analyzed by in situ hybridization, confirming expression in developing gonads.We have identified several genes expressed in developing and mature gonads in B. schlosseri. Analysis of genes upregulated in fertile animals suggests a high level of conservation of the mechanisms regulating fertility between basal chordates and vertebrates.
View details for DOI 10.1186/1471-2164-15-1183
View details for Web of Science ID 000349855100001
View details for PubMedID 25542255
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4523013
The Candidate Histocompatibility Locus of a Basal Chordate Encodes Two Highly Polymorphic Proteins
2013; 8 (6)
The basal chordate Botryllus schlosseri undergoes a natural transplantation reaction governed by a single, highly polymorphic locus called the fuhc. Our initial characterization of this locus suggested it encoded a single gene alternatively spliced into two transcripts: a 555 amino acid-secreted form containing the first half of the gene, and a full-length, 1008 amino acid transmembrane form, with polymorphisms throughout the ectodomain determining outcome. We have now found that the locus encodes two highly polymorphic genes which are separated by a 227 bp intergenic region: first, the secreted form as previously described, and a second gene encoding a 531 amino acid membrane-bound gene containing three extracellular immunoglobulin domains. While northern blotting revealed only these two mRNAs, both PCR and mRNA-seq detect a single capped and polyadenylated transcript that encodes processed forms of both genes linked by the intergenic region, as well as other transcripts in which exons of the two genes are spliced together. These results might suggest that the two genes are expressed as an operon, during which both genes are co-transcribed and then trans-spliced into two separate messages. This type of transcriptional regulation has been described in tunicates previously; however, the membrane-bound gene does not encode a typical Splice Leader (SL) sequence at the 5' terminus that usually accompanies trans-splicing. Thus, the presence of stable transcripts encoding both genes may suggest a novel mechanism of regulation, or conversely may be rare but stable transcripts in which the two mRNAs are linked due to a small amount of read-through by RNA polymerase. Both genes are highly polymorphic and co-expressed on tissues involved in histocompatibility. In addition, polymorphisms on both genes correlate with outcome, although we have found a case in which it appears that the secreted form may be major allorecognition determinant.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0065980
View details for Web of Science ID 000321738400007
View details for PubMedID 23826085
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3691228