Determining the Cell fate sensory neurons

Sensory systems have the ability to translate environmental cues such as light, temperature or chemical compounds into neuronal information. They basically provide all information the brain has to react, orient and adapt to the surrounding world.

We investigate and define the molecular and genetic mechanisms controlling how different types of neurons are made, how they differentiate from precursors into distinct sensory neuron types and how they are determined to express the proper sensory receptor gene.

In our research we use the sensory organs of the fruit fly as powerful genetic model, for which we are able to identify and manipulate individual cells with high precision. Single-cell transcriptomics pave the way to identify how cells differ and how they undergo determined differentiation programs. Using CRISPR/Cas9 we engineer and modify the genome to investigate gene function with cellular resolution.


Relevant publications:

Bernardo-Garcia FJ, Fritsch C, Sprecher SG.                                                                    The transcription factor Glass links eye field specification with photoreceptor differentiation in Drosophila.                                                                                                     DEVELOPMENT . 2016 Apr 15;143(8):1413-23. doi: 10.1242/dev.128801.

Bernardo-Garcia FJ, Humberg TH, Fritsch C, Sprecher SG.                                 Successive requirement of Glass and Hazy for photoreceptor specification and maintenance in Drosophila.                                                                                             Fly (Austin). 2017 Apr 3;11(2):112-120. doi: 10.1080/19336934.2016.1244591

Mishra AK, Bargmann BO, Tsachaki M, Fritsch C, Sprecher SG.                           Functional genomics identifies regulators of the phototransduction machinery in the Drosophila larval eye and adult ocelli.                                                                                    DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY . 2016 Jan 6, S0012-1606(15)30235-9. doi: 10.1016

Mishra AK, Tsachaki M, Rister J, Ng J, Celik A, Sprecher SG.                                            Binary Cell Fate Decisions and Fate Transformation in the Drosophila Larval Eye.        PLoS Genet. 2013 Dec;9(12):e1004027.

Vasiliauskas D, Mazzoni EO, Sprecher SG, Brodetskiy K, Johnston Jr RJ, Lidder P, Vogt N, Celik A, Desplan C                                                                                                               Feedback from rhodopsin controls rhodopsin exclusion in Drosophila  photoreceptors. NATURE. 2011 Oct 9;479(7371):108-12

Sprecher SG and Desplan C                                                                                                   Switch of rhodopsin expression in terminally differentiated Drosophila sensory neurons. NATURE, 2008 Jul 24 454 (7203):533-537

Sprecher SG, Pichaud F and Desplan C                                                                                  Adult and larval photoreceptors use different mechanisms to specify the same Rhodopsin fates                                                                                                                                            GENES AND DEVELOPMENT 2007 Sep 1;21(17):2182-95.