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Life Sciences seminar by Professor Tanya Whitfield, University of Sheffield

Location: GLT2, Gibbet Hill campus

Going round in circles: morphogenesis of the semicircular canal ducts of the zebrafish inner ear’

My lab uses the zebrafish as a model system to study formation and function of vertebrate sensory systems, with a focus on the developing inner ear. In this talk, I will show some of our live imaging work on formation of the semicircular canal ducts in this organ system. The semicircular canals function to detect angular acceleration (rotational movements) of the head. Their formation involves complex epithelial

movement, fusion and rupture events during the first few days of development. Several signalling pathways are involved, which we are investigating through the analysis of mutant phenotypes. Fusion of epithelia to form all three canal ducts is dependent on the function of an adhesion class G protein-coupled receptor, whereas correct morphogenesis of the anterior and posterior ducts, but not the horizontal (lateral) duct, requires the function of a BMP regulator gene, bmper.

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