Dr. Alexandra Schambony
PositionGROUP LEADER – DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
Our research focus is on Cell polarity and migration in Xenopus development. During the development of a complex multicellular organism from a single fertilized oocyte cell types and tissues are specified by differential gene expression patterns. These cells and tissues are organized into the three-dimensional shape of organs and the entire organism by morphogenetic movements. Most morphogenetic movements are coordinated mass cell movements, which require tight regulation of cell polarity, motility and adhesion to maintain tissue integrity during morphogenesis. In addition, cell rearrangements and shape changes go along with modulation of the biomechanics properties of individual cells and tissues and an increased metabolic activity to generate the required energy. The Wnt family of secreted morphogens activates divergent signaling cascades, which are traditionally divided into one “canonical” Wnt/β-Catenin pathway and multiple “non-canonical” β-Catenin-independent pathways. Wnt signaling cascades, in particular β-catenin-independent Wnt pathways play a major role in the regulation of morphogenetic movements. We are studying different aspects of beta-catenin independent Wnt signaling in morphogenesis in Xenopus laevis. Xenopus laevis is a non-mammalian vertebrate model organism with extra corporal development. This allows the non-invasive observation of even the earliest steps of development. In addition, the large number of eggs and the easy and efficient transient manipulation of gene expression by microinjection render Xenopus an excellent model for embryology, but also for cell biology and imaging as well as biochemical and biophysical experiments and the recapitulation of human disease.
Lab MembershipsSchambony Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen- Nuremberg