Organizers: Mary Baylies, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Monn M. Myatt, Weill Cornell Medical College; Jennifer Zallen, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
The New York Academy of Sciences is proud to announce the inaugural meeting of the "New York Area Drosophila Discussion Group." This group will meeting periodically at the Academy's headquarters at 7 World Trade Center to hear about and discuss the latest research and technology from fly labs in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Our first meeting will be held on December 10 from 6-8 pm at the New York Academy of Sciences in the 7 World Trade Center building.
Meetings will held in the evenings from 6 – 8 PM and will be followed by a reception to which all participants are welcome. Each meeting will include four presentations by graduate students and post-docs selected from area laboratories by the program committee with an emphasis on new and emerging data.
Anindya Sen, Columbia University: "BicD/Egl controls synapse growth and function through an Fmr1 dependent RNA regulatory cascade"
Adam Martin, Princeton University: "Myosin network contraction is coupled to adherens junctions to drive apical constriction during gastrulation"
The bending and folding of epithelial sheets during development generates an embryo with distinct germ layers that will give rise to separate organs and tissues. A common cell shape change that accompanies epithelial bending is apical constriction. Although type II myosin has been implicated in generating the force for this process, the mechanism by which myosin II functions during constriction and how this constriction is coordinated between cells is poorly understood. To address this, we have performed live-embryo imaging of fluorophore-tagged myosin light chain to visualize the dynamics of apical myosin II during gastrulation in Drosophila. We observe what appear to be periodic actin-myosin network contractions on the apical surface of constricting epithelial cells that correlate with periods of rapid apical constriction. In addition, these contractions result in a web-like network of myosin spots and fibers that span the apical surface of the entire invaginating epithelium. Using acellular embryos, we find that cortical tension alone can initiate furrow formation. However, in cellular embryos adherens junctions are required to integrate contractile structures across the epithelium.
Matt DeGennaro, New York University: "The redox regulation of germ cell adhesion"
Kenta Asahina, Rockefeller University: "Deconstruction of the olfactory coding in the brain of Drosophila larva"
The Drosophila larva has emerged as a powerful model organism to study the neuronal basis of the coding of olfactory information. The larval olfactory system consists of many fewer neurons than the adult, yet shares common principles of neuronal connectivity. I will review our recent findings, starting from the characterization of larval odorant receptor genes to the development of calcium imaging techniques to monitor odor-evoked responses in the olfactory circuit. We further obtained evidence that the olfactory system is required for the successful survival of larvae in competitive conditions, underpinning the significance of the sense of smell for larvae.