Research group Clemens Cabernard
Asymmetric cell division of neural stem cells
Elucidation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of asymmetric cell division in fruit fly neural stem cells should provide insight into the development of the human brain.
Cell division is a key process for the growth and development of an organism. In contrast to symmetric cell division, resulting in two identical cells, asymmetric cell division generates two daughter cells with different molecular compositions. This type of cell division produces a variety of specialized cells, fulfilling a very wide range of functions in the body.
Mechanisms of asymmetric stem cell division
Stem cells often divide asymmetrically. It is extremely important that this process is carried out correctly to ensure the healthy development of tissues and organs, and to prevent the development of diseases such as cancer. The aim of our research is to understand the mechanism of asymmetric cell division more precisely. We are therefore studying intracellular processes and their molecular components.
Neural stem cells in the fruit fly
For our work we are using neural stem cells from the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, called neuroblasts, as a model system. We are particularly interested in two aspects of asymmetric cell division: (1) the orientation of the mitotic spindle and (2) the positioning of the cleavage furrow. Cell division is a very dynamic process and consequently not easy to document. We use special microscopes to film asymmetric cell division.
Asymmetrical cell division and brain development
The results of our research allow us to gain valuable insight into the development of the human brain; its faulty development may be due to errors in stem cell division. A more precise understanding of the underlying biological processes may contribute in preventing these developmental abnormalities in the future.