Genetics of Cell Behaviour in Development

Institute of Biomedicine (IBUB)

Principal investigator: Sofia J. Araújo

PostDoc – Juan de la Cierva: Delia Ricolo

PhD Student: Judith Castro

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


Arzu Öztürk-Çolak, Camille Stephan-Otto Attolini, Jordi Casanova* and Sofia J. Araújo* (2018) Blimp-1 mediates tracheal lumen maturation in Drosophila melanogaster, Genetics, 210 (2):653-663

Oriol Ros, Pablo José Barrecheguren, Tiziana Cotrufo, Martina Schaettin, Cristina Rosselló-Busquets, Alba Vilchez-Costa, Marc Hernaiz-Llorens, Ramón Martinez-Marmol, Fausto Ulloa, Esther T. Stoeckli*, Sofia J. Araújo* and Eduardo Soriano* (2018) A conserved role for Syntaxin 1 in pre- and post-commissural midline axonal guidance in fly, chick and mouse, PLOS Genetics, doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1007432

Pablo José Barrecheguren, Oriol Ros, Tiziana Cotrufo, Eduardo Soriano, Fausto Ulloa*, Esther T. Stoeckli * and Sofia J. Araújo* (2017) SNARE proteins play a role in motor axon guidance in vertebrates and invertebrates, Developmental Neurobiology, 77(8): 963-974 doi: 10.1002/dneu.22481

Delia Ricolo, Myrto Deligiannaki, Jordi Casanova and Sofia J. Araújo* (2016) Centrosome amplification increases single-cell branching in post-mitotic cells, Current Biology, 26(20): 2805-13.

Arzu Öztürk-Çolak, Bernard Moussian, Sofia J. Araújo* and Jordi Casanova* (2016) A feedback mechanism converts individual cell features into a supracellular ECM structure in Drosophila trachea. eLife, eLife2016;10.7554/eLife.09373