Cell and Tissue Morphogenesis

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Studying the organisation of living matter

Principal investigator : Loïc Le Goff, Manos Mavrakis

keywords : cytoskeletal filaments, Drosophila, cell division, morphogenesis, tissue growth, mechanics

 More on Manos Mavrakis’ research
 More on Loïc Le Goff’s research

We are interested in how animal cells and tissues generate, maintain and adapt their shape as they grow, divide and reorganize during physiological responses. Our work aims at providing insights into (1) the interplay between the dynamic organization of cytoskeletal filaments and cell shape changes, and (2) the reciprocal links between tissue growth, morphogenesis and tissue mechanics.

We use a variety of model systems ranging from biomimetic systems (in vitro reconstitution of cytoskeleton using purified components) to single cells and developing Drosophila tissues. Our lab pursues a strongly interdisciplinary approach that bridges the molecular, cellular and tissue scales, combining genetics, biochemical and cell biological approaches with cutting-edge biophysical and live imaging approaches developed in the MOSAIC group. Our endeavor relies on strong collaborations with other members of the MOSAIC team to develop new imaging schemes, as well as with soft-matter experimental and theoretical physicists.

Ongoing projects
1. Development of molecular tools that allow measurements of the dynamic organization of actin and septin cytoskeletal filaments, in living cells and tissues, using spinning disk multicolor polarimetric imaging
2. Dissection of the molecular mechanisms that regulate the assembly and organization of septin filaments by combining genetics and biochemistry with ensemble and single-molecule polarimetric imaging
3. Study of the molecular mechanisms that underly the interactions between actin and septin filaments by combining genetics, biochemistry and in vitro reconstitution approaches
4. Development of imaging tools that allow noninvasive, chronic, deep, and live-tissue imaging
5. Experimental assessment of tissue mechanics in the context of tissue growth and morphogenesis, via optical and computational means (laser ablations, stress inference after segmentation of cell shapes)
6. Study of the reciprocal links between signaling pathways controlling tissue growth and proliferation and tissue mechanics

Selected publications

Visualizing septins in early Drosophila embryos
Manos Mavrakis
Methods in Cell Biology 136, pp.183 (2016)
Purification of recombinant human and Drosophila septin hexamers for TIRF assays of actin-septin filament assembly
Manos Mavrakis, Tsai Feng-Ching, Gijsje H. Koenderink
Methods in Cell Biology 136, pp.199 (2016)
Dynamic clonal analysis based on chronic in vivo imaging allows multi-scale quantification of growth in the Drosophila wing disc
Heemskerk I., Lecuit T., LeGoff L.,
Development 141, 2339 (2014)
Septins promote F-actin ring formation by cross-linking actin filaments into curved bundles
Mavrakis, M., Azou-Gros, Y., Tsai, F.-C., Alvarado, J., Bertin, A., Iv, F., Kress, A., Brasselet, S., Koenderink, G.H. and T. Lecuit.
Nature Cell Biology 16 (4), 322-334 (2014)
A global pattern of mechanical stress polarizes cell divisions and cell shape in the growing Drosophila wing disc
LeGoff L., Rouault H., Lecuit T.,
Development 140, 4051 (2014)
Lighting up developmental mechanisms : how fluorescence imaging opened a new era
Mavrakis, M., Pourquié, O., and T. Lecuit,
Development 137, 373-38 (2010)
Plasma Membrane Polarity and Compartmentalization are Established prior to Cellularization in the Fly
Mavrakis, M., Rikhy, R., and J. Lippincott-Schwartz,
Embryo. Dev. Cell 16, 93-104 (2009)
Fluorescence Imaging Techniques for Studying Drosophila Development
Mavrakis, M., Rikhy, R., Lilly, M., and Lippincott-Schwartz, J.
Current Protocols in Cell Biology Chapter 4 : Unit 4.18 (2008)
Orchestrating size and shape during morphogenesis.
Lecuit, T. and Le Goff L.,
Nature 450, 189 (2007)
Tracer studies on F-actin fluctuations
Le Goff, L, Hallatschek, O., Frey, E., and Amblard, F.,

Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 258101 (2002)
Motor-driven dynamics in actin-myosin networks
Le Goff, L., Amblard, F., and Furst, E.M.,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 018101 (2002)