Cellular basis of pattern formation

During embryogenesis a multicellular embryo comprised several different tissues, which are organized in a given order, develops from a single zygotic cell. Stem cell identities are established early during embryo development and formative cell divisions are a key event for the specification of different tissue founder cells. These processes require not only correct assignments of new cell identity to both daughter cells after division, but also a correct settlement of the division plane before division. This is especially crucial for plants due to the immobility of plant cells. Precise execution of programmed cell division ensures proper positioning of newly formed cells and the first specification events.

Though a lot of effort has been made to understand genetic control on these processes, the underlying cell biology remains unclear. Studying this will give us insight into how the genetic input is translated into cell biologic output of how stem cells are first specified.

In this project, we will study the cell biology of stem cell specification by the following means:

  • Identify series of key cellular events that associate with pattern formation, including cell polarity recognition and establishment, intra/intercellular transport, cytoskeleton arrangement, nucleus migration, and division plane settlement. The major technique will be the dynamic analysis of cellular structure using confocal microscopy.
  • Identify key cellular properties of stem cells on the level of ultra sub cellular structures using transmission electron microscopy.