miRNA function in Stem Cells
One of the key characteristics of stem cells is their capacity to self-renew throughout the lifetime of an animal. Stem Cell self-renewing division is tightly controlled process; too little division disrupts the homeostasis of the tissue while too much can result in cancer. We and others have recently shown that miRNAs are required for germ line stem cell division in Drosophila (Hatfield et al., 2005; Shcherbata et al ., 2006). We are now in the process of identifying and analyzing the regulation of critical miRNAs in stem cell division.
Drosophila as a model for Human diseases
Most of our studies of the Notch pathway have been aimed at understanding how this pathway acts in patterning and how it interacts with other signaling pathways (Ruohola et al., 1991; Larkin et al., 1996, 1999; Tworoger et al., 1998; Jordan et al., 2000; Jordan et al ., 2005; Althauser et al., 2005; Ward et al., 2006). More recently we have discovered that Notch also acts in control of cell division (Deng et al., 2001; Schaeffer et al., 2004; Shcherbata et al., 2004; Jordan et al., 2006).