Just time for a quick roundup of the final day at the ASCB annual meeting, when I went to the minisymposium on Development and Morphogenesis.
Each of the six talks explored a different developmental process, ranging from complex morphogenetic movements of embryonic zebrafish tissues to unique cell signaling events in Drosophila.
Session co-chair Carl-Philipp Heisenberg gave a very nice talk on the mechanics of zebrafish epiboly, the process in which a squamous epithelial layer called the enveloping cell layer spreads out from the animal pole of the embryo to cover the inner yolk cell at the end of gastrulation. In a meeting that was full of mechanically-focused cell biology talks, Heisenberg's presentation was definitely one of the most accessible. Look out for an interview with Heisenberg in an upcoming issue of JCB.
Daryl David, from Tony Harris’ lab, gave an update to his previous work on how epithelial aminoserosa cells in Drosophila embryos undergo apical constriction. And Ichiro Nishii presented a fascinating discussion of a model organism I’d never heard of before – a multicellular algae called Volvox that, during embryogenesis, turns itself inside out so that its reproductive cells are enclosed in the interior of the adult organism.
Amanda Amodeo, a student in the laboratories of Aaron Straight and Jan Skotheim, described how she identified a factor that prevents gene transcription in early Xenopus embryos until the so-called mid-blastula transition, when multiple cell divisions have titrated out the factor to a level low enough for transcription to begin. Judith Paridaen, from Wieland Huttner’s laboratory, discussed the behavior of the primary cilium in asymmetrically-dividing mouse neural progenitors. And Sougata Roy, from Thomas Kornberg’s group, described how actin-rich, filopodia-like projections called cytonemes reach out to contact distant cells in Drosophila embryos, and thereby receive signals that affect their development.
And that was it for the 2012 ASCB annual meeting. As always, it was a fun conference that covered a diverse array of topics. I’m sure next year’s meeting – in New Orleans – will be no different!