Job opportunitites

Neuropeptide control of epithelial dynamics in the simple animal Trichoplax adhaerens

Project title: Neuropeptide control of epithelial dynamics in the simple animal Trichoplax adhaerens.

Type of rotation: Master 2 (6 months)

Supervisor: Andrea PASINI 


Concept and Objectives

We are exploiting the simple marine invertebrate Trichoplax adhaerens as a model organism to study the morphogenesis and dynamics of epithelial tissues. T. adhaerens is characterised by a high morphological plasticity and an extremely efficient wound repair capacity (Armon et al, 2018; Srivastava et al., 2008). It has been shown that several neuropeptides secreted by Trichoplax gland cells can influence the dynamic behaviour of its epithelia (Senatore et al., 2017; Smith et al., 2014; Varoqueaux et al., 2018), but the cellular and molecular basis of this phenomenon remains completely unexplored. The proposed project will deploy a variety of experimental approaches (microsurgery, pharmacological treatments, immunofluorescence, confocal videomicroscopy) to study the cellular and molecular phenomena underlying the neuropeptide-controlled epithelial plasticity in Trichoplax. Particular attention will be devoted to the role of the actin cytoskeleton. The study of such a highly derived organism will shed light on some extreme adaptations of epithelial organization common to all metazoans, leading to a better understanding of the evolutionary history of epithelia and their interactions with the nervous system. Applicants should be interested in the quantitative aspects of cell biology, with a particular focus on marine organisms.


Armon S. et al., (2018) PNAS, 115, e10333
Senatore A. et al., (2017) J. Exp. Biol., 220, 3381-3390
Smith C.L. et al., (2014) Curr. Biol., 24, 1565
Srivastava M. et al., (2008) Nature 454, 955
Varoqueaux F. et al., (2018) Curr. Biol., 28, 1 

Type of position