Tata Institute of Fundamental Research


Mahendra Sonawane


Genetic analysis of epidermal cell adhesion in the developing zebrafish

Cell Biology

We use zebrafish as a model organism to investigate the developmental and cellular mechanisms involved in the establishment as well as maintenance of the epidermal architecture and integrity. We combine genetic approaches with confocal microscopy to unravel the importance of cell size, cell shape, cell polarization and cell adhesion in epidermal morphogenesis. In addition, we are interested in understanding how the changes in cell size or cell-polarity lead to re-calibration of tissue homeostasis or to epidermal hyperplasia.

Selected Publications

Arora P, Dongre S, Raman R, , Sonawane M (2020) Stepwise polarisation of developing bilayered epidermis is mediated by aPKC and E-cadherin in zebrafish. Elife pii: e49064, doi: 10.7554/eLife.49064

Pinto CS, Khandekar A, Bhavna R, Kiesel P, Pigino G, Sonawane M (2019) Microridges are apical epithelial projections formed of F-actin networks that organize the glycan layer.Sci Rep. 9(1):12191, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48400-0.

Magre I, Fandade V, Damle I, Banerjee P, Yadav SK, Joseph J. Sonawane M (2019) Nup358 regulates microridge length by controlling SUMOylation-dependent activity of aPKC in zebrafish epidermis. J Cell Sci., 132(12), pii: jcs224501, doi: 10.1242/jcs.224501.

Raman R, Damle I, Rote R, Banerjee S, Dingare C, Sonawane M (2016) aPKC regulates apical localization of Lgl to restrict elongation of microridges in developing zebrafish epidermis. Nat Commun. 7:11643, doi: 10.1038/ncomms11643.

Nagendran M, Arora P, Gori P, Mulay A, Ray S, Jacob T, Sonawane M (2015) Canonical Wnt signalling regulates epithelial patterning by modulating levels of laminins in zebrafish appendages. Development142(2):320-30, doi: 10.1242/dev.118703.

Sonal, Sidhaye J, Phatak M, Banerjee S, Mulay A, Deshpande O, Bhide S, Jacob T, Gehring I, Nuesslein-Volhard C, Sonawane M (2014) Myosin Vb mediated plasma membrane homeostasis regulates peridermal cell size and maintains tissue homeostasis in the zebrafish epidermis. PLoS Genetics 10(9):e1004614, doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004614.

Reischauer S, Levesque M, Nuesslein-Volhard C, Sonawane M (2009) Lgl2 executes its tumor suppressor function by regulating ErbB signaling in zebrafish epidermis. PLoS Genetics5(11):e1000720, doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000720.

Martin-Maischein H, Schwarz H, Nüsslein-Volhard C. Sonawane M, (2009) Lgl2 and E-cadherin act antagonistically to regulate hemidesmosome formation during epidermal development in zebrafish. Development 136(8):1231-40, doi: 10.1242/dev.032508.


  • Room B230 (Mumbai), CML Building (NCRA Pune)
  • Extn. 2707
  • mahendras @ tifr.res.in
  • Webpage