The 59th Annual Drosophila Research Conference was held in April in Philadelphia. This conference is the premier meeting for Drosophila researchers in which they share their research with the fruit fly community and learn about the latest results and techniques. As many as 1,000 presentations cover the full diversity of Drosophila investigations, from genetics, to molecular biology, cell biology, development, immunology, physiology, neuroscience, evolution, and more.
Graduate student Megan Levis presented her research on Calcium’s effect on actomyosin based tissue contractility. Levis reflected on the experience stating, “My studies in Drosophila have revealed feedback effects between Ca2+ and myosin. These studies were conducted to elucidate how biochemical signals and mechanical forces are coupled to coordinate cellular processes during epithelial regeneration which are poorly understood. Among their many signaling roles, calcium ions (Ca2+) act to regulate mechanical forces generated by actomyosin contractility after wounding.”
“In the Drosophila wing imaginal disc, I inhibited the IP3 receptor and the SERCA pump, two proteins that have been previously identified as key players in Ca2+ induced Ca2+ release (CICR) after wounding. I induced small wounds with a laser to measure the tension in the tissue. I found differential effects from inhibiting these two proteins. I also reported that inhibition of myosin through ROCK brought about a distinct calcium pattern within the tissue. These mechanistic insights into how Ca2+ signaling impacts actomyosin dynamics and cell contractility reveal promising therapeutic targeting strategies for improving chronic wound healing outcomes.”
Megan is a 3rd year graduate student in the lab of Dr. Jeremiah Zartman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and affiliated member of the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.