Morphogenesis of some organs originating from the embryonic epithelium such as lens, hair, teeth, or salivary glands is dependent on fine-tuned interactions between the surface ectoderm and the underlying mesenchyme, the neural tissue or the peripheral innervation. The peripheral innervation, which forms rather early in embryogenesis, may also serve to distribute signaling molecules influencing the development of the neighboring epithelium. The molecular mechanisms of these interactions that determine spatiotemporal control of the development of epithelial structures are still unclear. We aim to reveal signals from cranial nerves and nerve-associated cells that initiate the formation of epithelial placodes corresponding to the mentioned organs. The experiments are carried out in transgenic mouse models based on tissue-specific gene inactivation in the neural crest. All required mouse strains are already available in our lab and preliminary tests have been initiated. This project will analyze selected mouse embryo conditional mutants to unravel mechanisms of the formation of epithelial structures and the role of neighboring tissues. The project will employ single-cell RNA-seq analysis, spatial transcriptomics, in situ RNA hybridization, and immunohistochemistry. Advanced microscopy techniques such as light-sheet or spinning disc confocal microscopy will also be included.
M.Sc. (Mgr.) degree or equivalent in molecular/cellular biology or biochemistry; strong interest in developmental and molecular biology
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