PD. Dr. Matthias Behr
Institute of Biology
Tel: +49 (0)341-97-39584 (office)
We are interested in the formation of barrier tissues (e.g. trachea, gut and epidermis).
How tissues organize epithelial barriers is fundamental in biology. Essential genes that control different junctions in epithelial cell layers have been well-characterized, while genes controlling the apical extracellular matrix which forms the outermost barriers of epithelial sheets are yet poorly known. We have characterized genetic pathways that shape the apical extracellular matrix in the in Drosophila melanogaster. In the recent years we have identified a number of new key components controlling barriers at epithelial cells, such as Megatrachea, Wurst, Obstructor-A, Chitinase 2 and the Imaginal disk growth factor 6. Based on the evolutionary conservation of amino acid sequences and protein domains we found out that they contribute to general mechanisms of forming the apical extracellular matrix at the barrier tissues. For detailed view, see selected publications below.