Role of End-binding proteins and FGF signalling pathways in microtubule and centrosome reorganisation during epithelial differentiation.
Polarisation and differentiation of columnar epithelial cells is critical for normal gut function and defects in polarisation lead to loss of gut barrier function, epithelial cell invasion and cancer. Importantly, polarised elongation of epithelial cells is dependent on microtubule reorganisation into apico-basal arrays. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for microtubule reorganisation remain to be determined.
The aim of this PhD studentship is to study microtubule reorganisation during epithelial differentiation and gut morphogenesis and in particular to explore the role of the EB proteins and FGF signalling in this process using a combination of novel 3D in vitro culture models. GFP- and RNAi-technology and immuno-labelling in conjunction with high-resolution widefield fluorescence, confocal and multi-photon microscopy will be used to pursue these aims. This study presents an exciting opportunity to elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for microtubule reorganisation that underpins epithelial differentiation and tissue formation.