Genetics of Cell Behaviour in Development

Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics

Faculty of Biology, UB

Sofia J. Araújo
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4749-8913

Principal investigator: • Sofia J. Araújo

PostDoc: • Beatriz González

PhD Student: Núria Corbella

Technician: Raquel Méndez

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Tissue and organ development and function rely on cell shape and cell interactions with each other as well as with the surrounding matrix. Cell shape is intrinsically connected with cell function in a given tissue or organ and it varies enormously throughout nature. Branched cellular networks are a very common feature of multicellular animals and underlie the formation and function of numerous tissues and organs including the nervous system, the respiratory system, the vasculature and the structure of many internal glands. The production of cellular branched structures relies on cell migration and extensive cytoskeletal rearrangements.

In our research group we are interested in how cells migrate and branch in response to cell autonomous and non-autonomous cues and how are dynamic changes in the cytoskeleton modulated. To study these cell behaviours we use Drosophila melanogaster tracheal and nervous system cells during embryonic development and in larval stages.

We focus on the following lines of research:
· Cytoskeletal changes during subcellular lumen formation, axonogenesis and dendritogenesis
· Cell migration and invasive cell behaviours
· Cellular interactions and cooperation between nervous and tracheal system during cell migration and branching
· Drosophila as an organismal model for neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration


Araújo, S. J.; Llimargas, M. Time-Lapse Imaging and Morphometric Analysis of Tracheal Development in Drosophila. Cell migration in 3 dimensions, Methods in Molecular Biology. Vol 2608, 2608, 163:182, 2023.

Ricolo, D.; Castro-Ribera, J.; Araújo, S. J. Cytoskeletal players in single-cell branching morphogenesis. Developmental Biology. Vol 477:22-34, 2021. 

Ricolo, D.; Araújo, S. J. Coordinated crosstalk between microtubules and actin by a spectraplakin regulates lumen formation and branching. eLife. 9:e61111, 2020. 

Araújo, S. J.; Kuraoka, I. Nucleotide excision repair genes shaping embryonic development. Open Biology. 9:190166, 2019.

Arzu Öztürk-Çolak, A.; Stephan-Otto Attolini, C.; Casanova, J.; Araújo, S. J. Blimp-1 mediates tracheal lumen maturation in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics. 210 (2):653-663, 2018.