Deborah Andrew, Ph.D.
Department of Cell Biology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
725 N. Wolfe Street, G10 Hunterian
Baltimore, MD 21205
Research TopicDevelopmental genetics of organ formation; Drosophila
Research Topic: Organogenesis in a model system: Formation of the Drosophila salivary gland and trachea
Tube formation is a ubiquitous process required to sustain life in all multicellular organisms. Tubular organs in humans include the lungs, vasculature, digestive and excretory systems, as well as secretory organs such as the pancreas, salivary, prostrate, and mammary glands. My lab studies the Drosophila trachea and salivary gland as model systems for tube formation to learn how organ size, shape and function are normally controlled. Over the past several years, we have identified many genes expressed in the trachea and salivary gland, and are characterizing the subset required for early tube morphogenesis using a wide variety of genetic, imaging and biochemical approaches.
Among the genes we have characterized are two that encode transcription factors required for internalization of either the trachea or salivary gland, trachealess and fork head. Three other genes we have characterized encode transcription factors controlling tube elongation, ribbon, huckebein and hairy. Finally, several genes encode components of signaling pathways required for organ positioning. Current efforts in the lab are directed toward identifying and characterizing the morphogenetic roles of the downstream effector molecules regulated by these transcription factors and signaling pathways. We also study the mechanisms whereby the salivary gland becomes specialized for secretion and have learned that secretory capacity in this and other secretory organs is largely controlled by a single transcription factor, CrebA. Finally, we are beginning to leverage what we have learned about the Drosophila salivary gland to compromise mosquito salivary glands as one approach to limiting malarial transmission.