Asymmetric cell division can be manifested in the formation of different sized sibling cells. How this form of physical asymmetry is generated and what it is used for is not known.
Drosophila melanogaster neuroblasts, neural stem cells in the developing fly brain, provide an ideal model system to investigate the mechanisms and function of sibling cell size asymmetry. Dividing neuroblasts generate a small differentiating Ganglion Mother Cell (GMC), while forming a large, self-renewed neuroblast.
We are interested in understanding how the spatiotemporal information provided by neuroblast intrinsic polarity cues regulates cytoskeletal dynamics, necessary for the formation of sibling cell size asymmetry.
We are also investigating how sibling cell size asymmetry informs cell fate decisions and brain development.
To address these questions, we combine forward and reverse genetics with advanced live cell imaging methods (FRAP, FRET, photoactivation), optogenetics and biophysical measurements.