Planar polarity and tissue morphogenesis


  • Dr Barry Thompson

    The Francis Crick Institute

Project summary

How tissue shape is determined during animal development is a major unanswered question in biology. Failure to correctly shape tissues during development can lead to birth defects. The Dachsous-Fat cadherin system of planar cell polarity is essential for determining tissue shape in animals. This system forms long-range gradients across epithelial tissues, which are then interpreted by cells, leading to the orientation of cell movement and division along a particular axis. Dr Thompson aims to identify novel molecules and mechanisms involved in the interpretation of these gradients and the orientation of planar polarity in Drosophila. In doing so he wishes to understand how genetic programmes can organise the shape of a developing tissue.