epithelial cells

Jean-Paul Vincent : Areas of interest

Introduction

We aim to understand how cells coordinate patterning and growth within a tissue.

Notum is a glypican-dependent Wnt deacylase.

Figure 1. Notum is a glypican-dependent Wnt deacylase. Wnt protein carry a palmitoleate moeiety that is required for engagement with the receptor and hence signaling activity. Notum is an extracellular enzyme that inactivates Wnts by removing the palmitoleate.

We investigate how signalling molecules organise tissues and how pro-growth signals are integrated. We are interested in the processes that ensure the establishment of the right signaling landscape (production and spread of signaling molecules) and how these landscapes are interpreted to activate the appropriate growth rates and cell fate decision..

Our animal model of choice is the fruit fly Drosophila. We also make use of cells in culture and are developing one mouse model to study the role of Wnt signaling in tissue homeostasis. Although our research is not applied, we hope that it will help identify molecules and processes that are relevant to human disease (e.g. cancer or neurodegeneration).

Our general approach involves merging the power of genome engineering with a variety of techniques borrowed from cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physics.