Erika Geisbrecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Areas of specialty
- Formation and maintenance of muscle and heart tissue
- Biochemistry and molecular genetics of Drosophila
- Cell signaling in development
Most animals are mobile and spend a considerable amount of their energy and time foraging for food, escaping danger, and searching for a mate. This ability to move requires sensory input from the nervous system and motor output facilitated by contractile muscle tissue. The fundamental morphological events underlying skeletal muscle development are strikingly similar between humans and model organisms such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Moreover, the functional conservation of proteins required for muscle development and maintenance across diverse species is well-established. As such, we seek to characterize molecules and signaling pathways in the Drosophila model that regulate: (1) the formation and stability of muscle-tendon interfaces; and (2) maintenance of mature, contractile myofibers. We feel that understanding the molecular events that contribute to the development and homeostasis of normal muscle tissue will allow us to ultimately determine how defects may lead to the onset and progression of human myopathies. Our laboratory uses a combination of genetic, biochemical, and imaging techniques to achieve our goals.
Liu ZC, Odell N, Geisbrecht ER. Drosophila Importin-7 functions upstream of the Elmo signaling module to mediate the formation and stability of muscle attachments. J Cell Sci. 2013 Sep 17; (126):5210-5223. PubMed PMID: 2404651.
Geisbrecht ER*, Sawant K, Su Y, Liu ZC, Silver DL, Burtscher A, Wang X, Zhu AJ, McDonald JA*. Genetic interaction screens identify a role for hedgehog signaling in Drosophila border cell migration. Dev Dyn. 2013 May; 242(5):414-31. PubMed PMID: 23335293. (*= co-corresponding author).
LaBeau-DiMenna EM, Clark KA, Bauman KD, Parker DS, Cripps RM, Geisbrecht ER.Thin, a Trim32 ortholog, is essential for myofibril stability and is required for the integrity of the costamere in Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 30; 109(44):17983-8. PubMed PMID: 23071324.
Liu ZC, Geisbrecht ER. ‘Importin’ signaling roles for import proteins: the function of Drosophila Importin-7 (DIM-7) in muscle-tendon signaling. Cell Adh Migr. 2012 Jan-Feb; 6(1): 4-12. PubMed PMID: 22647935.
Liu ZC, Geisbrecht ER. Moleskin is essential for the formation of the myotendinous junction in Drosophila. Dev Biol.2011 Nov 15; 359(2) 176-189. PubMed PMID: 21925492. (Cover image).
Biersmith BH, Hammel M, Geisbrecht ER, Bouyain S. The immunoglobulin-like domains 1 and 2 of the protein tyrosine phosphatase LAR adopt an unusual horseshoe-like conformation.J Mol Biol. 2011 May 13; 408(4):616-27. PubMed PMID: 21402080.
Biersmith B, Liu Z, Bauman K, Geisbrecht ER. The DOCK protein Sponge binds to ELMO and functions in Drosophila embryonic CNS development. PLOS One. 2011 Jan 25;6(1):e16120. PubMed PMID: 21283588.