Control of Tracheal Tube Size and Shape

Using the tracheal system in the Drosophila embryo as a model system, we carried out systematic mutagenesis screens, in which we isolated mutations affecting various morphological features (tube length, diameter, luminal shape, tube fusion), as well as cellular processes (secretion, endocytosis, epithelial barrier function). The mutations fall into distinct phenotypic classes, thus providing an entry point towards a comprehensive analysis of the mechanisms underlying tubular morphogensis. New genes are characterized using genetic, cellular, and biochemical approaches. We are focusing on the characterization of genes involved in extracellular matrix deposition during tracheal lumen expansion. We are currently extending the successful screening approach by including more specific readouts for epithelial structure and intracellular trafficking pathways.