University of Cambridge Morphogenesis Seminar Series is a series of weekly online seminars on the topic of Morphogenesis. Talks are on Mondays at 2:30pm during term time and are given by both international and local speakers. The seminars are open to all.
Speakers represent the diverse topics that make up morphogenesis, including biomechanics, cell and tissue level interactions, theoretical analyses and modelling, and different systems such as animals, plants, and single cell approaches.
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17/5 Jochen Rink
Title: Size sensing in biological systems- new insights from planarians
Abstract: Planarians are remarkable animals. They can regenerate from tiny tissue pieces, maintain continuous cell turn over via abundant pluripotent stem cells and continuously grow or literally shrink their bodies in a food-supply dependent manner. Such astonishing adult size plasticity is accompanied by the size dependence of multiple aspects of planarian physiology, including the organismal growth and de-growth rates, levels of metabolic energy stores or the formation of the reproductive system at a precise size threshold. This implies the existence of mechanisms that sense system size and elicit size-dependent physiological changes, the elucidation of which is a long-standing goal of my laboratory. My talk will present recent findings, including direct size-dependencies in planarian gene expression, their upstream control via a size dependent hormone and downstream functional consequences. Our results thus far suggest the existence of magnigens, the levels of which encode system size and that, via dose-dependent effects on target gene expression, tune physiology to the momentary size of the animal.