Pilot Project 2 (2019)

Exploring the interaction between tricellular occluding junctions (TCJs) and adherens junctions (AJs) and its possible role in epithelial polarization

In this project, we aim to decipher the complex interactions between Adherens Junctions (AJs) and Tight Junctions (TJCs) and analyze the role of TJCs in the acquisition and / or maintenance of epithelial apico-basal polarity in early mouse embryonic development and Drosophila oogenesis. We hypothesize that TCJs act as a “break” to restrict AJ localization before the apical domain. Therefore, we suggest that the interplay between AJs and TCJs determines the spatial segregation of the apical and lateral domains in polarized epithelia. We will follow three specific aims:

  • Aim 1: Analyzing the role of TCJs in the epithelialization of the mouse epiblast cells
  • Aim 2: Assessing the role of E-cadherin in Drosophila FCE and mouse ESCs on the formation of TCJs and the apico-basal polarity
  • Aim 3: Assessing the degree of conservation of TCJ formation in invertebrates and vertebrates