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Department of Molecular Life Sciences

Epithelial tube morphogenesis


After the fates of the vulval cells have been determined by the combined action of the EGFR/RAS/MAPK and Delta/Notch signaling pathways, the vulval cells proliferate, undergo shape changes and spatially rearrange to form a tubular organ consisting of 22 cells. We are investigating how the EGFR/RAS/MAPK and Notch pathways control actomyosin-mediated apical and lateral cell constrictions to initiate lumen formation and shape the organ. The insights gained from our studies on vulval morphogenesis uncover the principle mechanisms governing organ development and can be applied to understand the formation of more complex organs in higher animals.





Key publications


The Invading Anchor Cell Induces Lateral Membrane Constriction during Vulval Lumen Morphogenesis in C. elegans.

Yang Q, Roiz D, Mereu L, Daube M, Hajnal A.

Dev Cell. 2017 Aug 7;42(3):271-285.e3.

doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.07.008.


Coordinated lumen contraction and expansion during vulval tube morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Farooqui S, Pellegrino MW, Rimann I, Morf MK, Müller L, Fröhli E, Hajnal A.

Dev Cell. 2012 Sep 11;23(3):494-506.

doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.06.019.

PMID: 22975323  Free Article


LIN-39 and the EGFR/RAS/MAPK pathway regulate C. elegans vulval morphogenesis via the VAB-23 zinc finger protein.

Pellegrino MW, Farooqui S, Fröhli E, Rehrauer H, Kaeser-Pebernard S, Müller F, Gasser RB, Hajnal A.

Development. 2011 Nov;138(21):4649-60.

doi: 10.1242/dev.071951.


The conserved zinc finger protein VAB-23 is an essential regulator of epidermal morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Pellegrino MW, Gasser RB, Sprenger F, Stetak A, Hajnal A.

Biol Dev 1;336(1):84-93.

doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.09.036.

Epub 2009 Sep 30.

PMID: 19799893 Free Article