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Molecular Cell Biology of Intra-cellular Transport and Sperm Development in Drosophila

Cells are the basic units of a living organism. Maintaining asymmetric distribution of biomolecules and regulating their exchange between the segregated compartments keeps a cell alive. A variety of different motor proteins (F-actin or microtubule-dependent ATPases) perform this role. Investigations since 1985 have highlighted engagement of these molecular locomotives in all types of cellular functions - form signaling to metabolism and cell divisions. For this, the motors transport numerous different proteins to diverse destinations. The key motivation of the laboratory is to understand how these motors discriminate between the cargoes and decide their destinations.
We investigate the question by identifying proteins that interact with the C-terminal tail domains of the kinesin-2 motor and study their transport properties in different contexts. For this purpose, we use the sensory neurons of Drosophila with an aim to understand the connection between the cell signaling and the transport. We also investigate the role of other motors in cell signaling underlying tissue development and stem cell divisions. For the second part, our experimental paradigm is the spermatogenesis in Drosophila.
We use a variety of imaging techniques combined with molecular genetics and cell biology to achieve these objectives.

Molecular cell biology of tissue differentiation has been my long term interest. After obtaining a PhD for research on the development of chemosensory organs at the TIFR, Mumbai (1995), I worked at IMCB, Singapore on the molecular-genetic analysis of Dynein Light Chain 1 functions, and at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Diego, on identifying the cellular functions of kinesin-2. The current laboratory at TIFR was established in 1998 to investigate the molecular cell biology of motor proteins and study their impact on the development and behavior of an organism.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Prof. Krishanu Ray
Email : krishanu @ tifr . res . in
Tel: +91-22-22782730/2731