tony [dot] harris (at)utoronto [dot] ca
Dept of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
25 Harbord Street
Canada M5S 3G5
We study how animal tissues are built. We use confocal and time-lapse microscopy in combination with Drosophila genetics, molecular biology and proteomics to study how epithelial cells are formed and re-shaped during development. Epithelia are sheets of adherent cells that form boundaries between our body compartments. Each side of an epithelial sheet has distinct molecular properties. This epithelial polarity is critical for guiding embryo development and directing adult functions (e.g. nutrient uptake in the gut), and its loss is associated with cancer. We are focusing on the molecular machinery responsible for forming epithelial cells (polarity, adhesion, cytoskeletal and membrane trafficking complexes). We are identifying the proteins making up this machinery and determining how they function together to establish, maintain and remodel epithelial structure in the Drosophila embryo. By using cutting edge microscopy in combination with Drosophila genetics, we can literally see how identified proteins interact to control epithelial structure and morphogenesis. It is really exciting to see how cells and tissues are built (see these movies, or these ones), and it is important for understanding cancer and developing regenerative medicine.
McKinley, R.F.A. and Harris, T.J.C. (2012) Displacement of basolateral Bazooka/PAR-3 by regulated transport and dispersion during epithelial polarization in Drosophila. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 23:4465-71.
Yu, C.G. and Harris, T.J.C. (2012) Interactions between the PDZ domains of Bazooka (Par-3) and phophatidic acid: in vitro characterization and role in epithelial development. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 23:3743-53.
McKinley, R.F.A, Yu, C.G. and Harris, T.J.C. (2012) Assembly of Bazooka polarity landmarks through a multifaceted membrane association mechanism. J. Cell Science. 125:1177-1190.
Adherens junctions: from molecular mechanisms to tissue development and disease (2012) Tony Harris (Ed.). Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht, Netherlands. Subcellular Biochemistry, 60: 1-431. 17 chapters. DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-4186-7 Intoductory chapter (click here)
David, D.J.V., McGill, M.A., McKinley, R.F.A. and Harris, T.J.C. (2012) Live imaging of Drosophila embryos: Quantifying protein numbers and dynamics at subcellular locations. Methods in Molecular Biology. 839:1-17.
Harris, T.J.C. (2012) Adherens junction assembly and function in the Drosophila embryo. The International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology. 293:45-83.
David, D.J.V, Tishkina, A. and Harris, T.J.C. (2010) The PAR complex regulates pulsed actomyosin contractions during amnioserosa apical constriction in Drosophila. Development 137: 1635-1643.
Shao, W., Wu, J., Chen, J., Lee, D. Tishkina, A. and Harris, T.J.C. (2010) A modifier screen for Bazooka/PAR-3 interacting genes in the Drosophila embryo epithelium PLoS ONE. 5:e993.
Harris, T.J.C. and Tepass, U. (2010) Adherens Junctions: from molecules to morphogenesis. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 11: 502-514.
McGill, M.A., McKinley, R.F.A. and Harris, T.J.C. (2009) Independent cadherin-catenin and Bazooka clusters interact to assemble adherens junctions. J. Cell Biol. 185: 787-96.
Harris, T.J.C., J.K. Sawyer and Peifer, M. (2009) How the cytoskeleton helps build the embryonic body plan: Models of morphogenesis from Drosophila. Current Topics in Developmental Biology 89: 55-85.
Pope, KL and Harris, T.J.C. (2008) Control of cell flattening and associated junctional remodelling during squamous epithelial morphogenesis in Drosophila. Development 135: 2227-2238.
Harris, T.J.C., and Peifer, M. (2007) aPKC controls microtubule organization to balance adherens junction symmetry and planar polarity during development. Developmental Cell 12: 727-738.
Current Lab Members (always looking for talented people)
Postdocs: Jiang Tao, Jiangshu Liu
PhD Candidates: Daryl David, Donghoon Lee, Francisco Rodrigues
MSc Candidates: Gabrielle Goldenberg, Yixie Zhang
Technician: CQ Yu
Undergraduates: Gerry Gotesman, Caroline Wang, Alex Hsieh, Kamal Singh
Past Lab Members
Postdocs: Melanie McGill
PhD graduates: Andrew McKinley, PhD
MSc graduates: Aida Gordanpour, Karen Pope, Wei Shao, John Tak
Undergraduates: Mingdi Tan, Ryan Kusuhara, Pil Gyu Park, Michael Swan, Yixie Zhang, Tom Charabin, Jeyla Chen, Yani Chen, Matt Rozycki, Alisa Tishkina, Johnny Wu, Ted Wu, Shannon Yoo, Shannon Yu