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Research Group
Mechanisms of growth control and cancer in Drosophila.
Unit Unit Developmental Neurobiology »

Principal Investigator Associated Investigators Ph.D. Investigator Graduate students Technician Administration
Research Fields
Growth is a central aspect of the early development of all organs including the nervous system, determining the final size and shape of each organ. We make use of the developing eye of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster to study the mechanism(s) of tissue/organ growth control during development. Understanding these mechanisms relies on the identification of genes involved and elucidating how do they operate in vivo.
Previously, others and we have shown that the Notch signalling pathway plays a key role in the control of growth of the Drosophila eye. We have now performed several high-throughput genetic screens aimed at identifying new elements of this control. Some of the mutations identified so far behave as novel proto-oncogenes or tumour-suppressor genes, others appear to point to genes involved in eye-specific growth. The Notch pathway and the molecules involved in eye development are well conserved between flies and mammals and, therefore, we think that the characterisation of these new genes will uncover new principles of growth regulation in organisms more complex than Drosophila.
Another of the ongoing projects concerns the application of the current knowledge of eye development to modelling human diseases (particularly, aniridia and cancer) using transgenic flies expressing the human proteins associated with these disorders.

Representative Publications

Garelli A , Gontijo AM, Miguela V, Caparros E, Dominguez M " Imaginal discs secrete insulin-lile peptide 8 to mediate plasticity of growth and maturation " Science . 336(6081) , 579 - 582 ( 2012 )

Ntziachristos P , Tsirigos A, ... Ferres-Marco D,da Ros V, ... Dominguez M, Ferrando A, Aifantis I. ; " Genetic inactivation of polycomb repressive complex 2 in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia " Nat Med. . 18(2) , 298 - 301 ( 2012 )

Vallejo DM , Caparros E, Dominguez M " Targeting Notch signalling by the conserved miR-8/200 microRNA family in development and cancer cells " EMBO J. . 30(4) , 756 - 769 ( 2011 )

Ferres-Marco D. , Gutierrez-Garcia I., Vallejo DM., Bolivar J., Gutierrez-Avino FJ., Dominguez M. " Epigenetic silencers and Notch collaborate to promote malignant tumours by Rb silencing. " Nature . 439 , 430 - 436 ( 2006 )

Domínguez, M*. , D. Ferrés-Marcó, F. J. Gutierréz-Aviñó, S. A. Speicher, and M. Beneyto. " Growth and specification of the eye are controlled independently by eyegone/PAX6 (5a) and eyeless/PAX6 in Drosophila melanogaster. " Nature Genetics . 36 , 31 - 39 ( 2004 ) * Corresponding author
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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