Speaker: Stefano Di Talia, Ph.D., Duke University School of Medicine

Topic: Mechanochemical control of nuclear positioning in Drosophila embryos 

I will describe our attempts at understanding nuclear positioning in early Drosophila embryos. I will discuss how the integration of the cell cycle oscillator and cortical actomyosin contractility generate cytoplasmic flows which lead to axial spreading of nuclei. I will then present a two-fluid model that captures the experimental observations and provide a physical picture for how the interplay of an active gel (actomyosin network) and a passive viscous fluid (cytosol) can generate the observed flows. Finally, I will present our recent attempts at dissecting how microtubules drive the migration of nuclei to the cortex, a morphogenetic process that follows immediately after axial expansion. I propose that dissecting the mechanisms of nuclear positioning in early Drosophila embryos offers a unique opportunity to dissect how biochemical and mechanical signals are integrated during an important morphogenetic process

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