are interested in understanding how the fly brain develops and
functions, as a model for the human brain in health and in disease. We
are focusing on elucidating the role of post-transcriptional regulation
of gene expression in neural stem cell (neuroblast) development and
their differentiation into neurons, as well as in synaptic plasticity
during memory and learning. These mechanisms include mRNA transport and
localised translation, as well as mRNA stability and processing.
Keywords: mRNA, Neuronal development, Neural stem cells, Drosophila,
live cell imaging, synaptic plasticity, neuromuscular junction,
brain, neurons, memory, learning, neuromuscular diseases.
Watching RNAs localise
use fluorescent proteins to track the movement of RNA through
Drosophila, the animal system that we use in the lab. This video shows
in-vitro transcribed, gurken RNA localising to the dorsal-anterior corner of a stage 8 Drosophila egg chamber after injection.
Video by Kirsty Gill and Richard Parton
|3-D imaging of muscles and neurons
is a 3-dimensional image of a Drosophila larva, showing the muscle wall
and its associated neurons. The red part of the image is a neuron,
while the blue circular structures are muscle cell nuclei.
Video by Lu Yang
own research lab, I am also the Director of Micron, a collaborative,
multidisciplinary bioimaging unit. Micron works with biomedical
researchers across Oxford and beyond to apply advanced cellular imaging
techniques to address key biological questions. More details can be
found on the Micron website.
the brain develops and functions is one of the most important and
fundamental questions in biology and medicine. The brain forms from a
limited neural stem cells that gives rise to a huge number and diversity
of neurons. Once neurons connect up to each other via synapses to form a
functional brain, memory and learning occur by modifying these
connections through a process known as synaptic plasticity.
Our lab is
using flies as a highly tractable model system to understand the
molecular basis of these processes. We are investigating how gene
expression regulates neural stem cell biology and synaptic plasticity.
More specifically, we are focusing on how messenger RNAs, which contain
copies of the genetic information stored in DNA, are regulated by their
localisation and stability, processes known to be important in
- Davidson A, Parton RM, Rabouille C, Weil TT, Davis I. (2016) Localized Translation of gurken/TGF-α mRNA during Axis Specification Is Controlled by Access to Orb/CPEB on Processing Bodies. Cell Rep. 14, 1-12. pii: S2211-1247(16)30141-3. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.02.038 pdf
- York-Andersen AM, Parton RM, Bi CJ, Bromley CL, Davis I, Weil TT.(2015) A single and rapid calcium wave at egg activation in Drosophila. Biol Open. (2015) 4(4):553-560.
pii: BIO201411296. doi: 10.1242/bio.201411296.pdf
- Parton RM, Davidson A, Davis I, Weil TT. (2014) Subcellular localisation at a glance. J. Cell Sci. 127(Pt 10):2127-33 pdf
Halstead JM, Lin YQ, Durraine L, Hamilton RS, Ball G, Neely GG, Bellen HJ, Davis I. (2014) Syncrip/hnRNP Q influences synaptic transmission and regulates BMP signaling at the Drosophila neuromuscular synapse. Biol Open. 3(9):839-49. pdf
- McDermott SM, Yang L, Halstead JM, Hamilton RS, Meignin C, Davis I.
(2014) Drosophila Syncrip modulates the expression of mRNAs encoding
key synaptic proteins required for morphology at the neuromuscular
junction. RNA. 2014 Oct;20(10):1593-606 pdf
We welcome informal enquiries from prospective Post-Doc (email firstname.lastname@example.org) and PhD students (click here)
Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship Until 2017
Major Funding Sources
Wellcome Trust Strategic Award: Advanced Imaging for Chromosome and RNA Dynamics (Micron) Until 2021