In our attempt to uncover such principles we use two very different model organisms, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The cylindrical cells of the fission yeast provide a powerful experimental system with which we can easily study the molecular processes mediating cell morphogenesis in fully autonomous living cells. In fruit flies we build on the results obtained in fission yeast and study the respective cell biological problems in a multicellular environment where collective effects and signalling activities need to be considered.
In our studies we combine modern real-time fluorescence imaging of the living organism with classical genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics approaches. Quantitative data analysis is a central tool that we use to describe the dynamics and behaviour of our cellular systems in the wild type and in mutants. Where possible we use these quantitative data to develop mathematical models, which we can use for further “in silico” exploration of the mechanisms driving the system. Consequently, many of our projects are highly collaborative and interdisciplinary.
Microtubules in fission yeast cells
(labelled with GFP-mal3p)
Pulsed shape changes of fly amnioserosa cells during dorsal closure
(actin labelled with Moe-GFP)