Welcome to Cel-DD


Over the last decades many of the genetic mechanisms controlling embryonic development have been described. Comparison of these mechanisms has led to the surprising discovery that overall they are highly conserved and that basic genetic toolkits are in charge of comparable developmental events. However, we still far from understand how these toolkits enable the assembling of cells that compose tissues and organs. In other words, we have a poor grasp on the cellular biology of development, which organizes differentiated cells and tissues into complete organs with a definitive shape and function. In this context, an intriguing and poorly explored question is whether developmental mechanisms can help to maintain adult organ homeostasis and their relationship with disease. In a handful of cases it has been shown that alterations or redeployment of developmental pathways in the adult lead to pathological states. A paradigmatic example is tumor formation, which shows how understanding embryonic development can help us to uncover the basis of human disease. Tumor development often implies changes in cell fate in adult tissues that proceed – and possibly contribute to - neoplastic transformation.

In CelDD-CM we aim to tackle these issues by analyzing the cellular basis of development, both in the embryo and in its relation to abnormal cellular growth, and to explore the developmental basis of human diseases both at the genetic and cellular levels. The CelDD-CM team is composed by five research groups working with different models, ranging from invertebrates (Drosophila melanogaster) to humans including vertebrate model organisms (mainly mouse and zebrafish) as well as cell cultures (stem cells and human cell lines). The consortium also has a broad experience in studying developmental mechanisms in normal and pathogenic tissues. The central mechanism addressed in this proposal is the role that cell competition has in shaping the cellular composition of developing, normal adult and diseased tissues/organs. Preliminary insights into its role in loss of tissue specific functions occurring in inflammatory, neoplastic, and aging situations will be obtained.

The final goal of the CelDD-CM consortium is to acquire a better understanding of the mechanisms underneath developmental tissue organization and how these are required for tissue homeostasis. Furthermore, we hope tocontribute to a better understanding of how developmental pathways and mechanisms are redeployed in tumor formation and human disease.