Asymmetric cell division is the process by which one cell divides into two daughter cells that have different fates. Asymmetric division is the hallmark of stem cells, in which one daughter cell specialises to perform a specific function in the organism, while the other becomes another stem cell that keeps the ability to divide. We are interested in understanding how cell fate determinants segregate asymmetrically during asymmetric division. In particular, we focus on finding the molecular and physical mechanisms by which polarity cues are “written” onto the microtubule cytoskeleton during asymmetric division and how, in turn, these polarity signals are “read” by molecular motors to carry endosomes containing fate determinants into only one daughter cell. Our approach is highly pluridisciplinary, from reconstituted cytoskeleton systems in vitro, high-end quantitative imaging of trafficking in vivo during development, to analysis of morphological phenotypes in adult flies, relying on theoretical physics to bridge these different scales. We also develop novel imaging and bioengineering tools. For instance, we have developed techniques to induce polarity in unpolarised cells, using micropatterning and protein design. This induced polarity allows us to explore the molecular mechanisms underpinning symmetry breaking of the cytoskeleton. Our long term vision is capitalize on this work in Drosophila to restore asymmetric cell fate in situations where it has been lost in mammalian stem cells, such as during ageing or tumorigenesis.
Asymmetric division of a sensory organ precursor cell where endosomes containing cell fate determinants (green) are asymmetrically segregated into only one daughter cell thanks to symmetry breaking of the microtubule cytoskeleton (red).
Microtubule dynamics during development of the notum epithelium in Drosophila. Asymmetrically dividing sensory organ precursors are labelled in red.
- Planelles-Herrero, V.J., Bittleston, A., Seum, C, Gonzalez-Gaitan M, Derivery E. (2022)
Elongator stabilizes microtubules to control central spindle asymmetry and polarized trafficking of cell fate determinants
Nat Cell Biol., https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-022-01020-9
- Ben-Sasson, AJ., Watson, JL., Sheffler, W., Johnson, MC., Bittleston, A., Somasundaram, L., Decarreau, J., Jiao, F., Chen, J., Mela, I., Drabek, AA., Jarrett, SM., Blacklow, SC., Kaminski, CF., Hura, GL., De Yoreo, JJ., Kollman, JM., Ruohola-Baker, H., Derivery, E., Baker, D (2021)
Design of biologically active binary protein 2D materials.
- Watson, J.L., Aich, S., Oller-Salvia, B., Drabek, A.A., Blacklow, S.C., Chin, J., Derivery E. (2021)
High-efficacy subcellular micropatterning of proteins using fibrinogen anchors
J Cell Biol. 220(2): https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.202009063
- Giandomenico, S.L., Mierau, S.B., Gibbons, G.M., Wenger, L.M.D., Masullo, L., Sit, T., Sutcliffe, M., Boulanger, J., Tripodi, M., Derivery, E., Paulsen, O., Lakatos, A. and Lancaster, M.A. (2019)
Cerebral organoids at the air-liquid interface generate diverse nerve tracts with functional output
Nat Neurosci 22(4): 669-679
- Colom, A., Derivery, E., Soleimanpour, S., Tomba, C., Molin, M.D., Sakai, N., González-Gaitán, M., Matile, S. and Roux, A. (2018)
A fluorescent membrane tension probe
NatChem 10(11): 1118-1125
- Derivery E, Bartolami E, Matile S, Gonzalez-Gaitan M. (2017)
Efficient Delivery of Quantum Dots into the Cytosol of Cells Using Cell-Penetrating Poly(disulfide)s.
J Am Chem Soc. 139: (30):10172-10175
- Derivery E, Seum C, Daeden A, Loubéry S, Holtzer L, Jülicher F, Gonzalez-Gaitan M. (2015)
Polarized endosome dynamics by spindle asymmetry during asymmetric cell division.
Nature 528: (7581):280-5.
- Alice Bittleston
- Gillian Griffiths
- Lara Kruger
- Akaash Kumar
- Kerrie McNally
- Vicente Jose Planelles Herrero