Department of Developmental Biology and Department of Genetics

Stanford University School of Medicine



Margaret T. Fuller

Margaret T. Fuller


Fax: 650/725-7739

e-mail: mtfuller@stanford.edu

Research Interests: Regulation of Stem Cell Behavior, Cell Type Specific Transcription Machinery and Tissue Specific Gene Expression, Cell Cycle Regulation during Meiosis, Mechanism of Cytokinesis Cell Morphogenesis and Differentiation During Male Gametogenesis


Research Overview

  A major focus of our work concerns the mechanisms that regulate stem cell behavior. Many highly differentiated but short-lived cell-types, including blood, skin, and sperm, are produced throughout adult life from stem cells. The central characteristic of stem cells is their remarkable, long-term capacity to divide as relatively undifferentiated precursors while also producing daughter cells that initiate differentiation. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate stem cell specification and the choice between stem cell self-renewal and differentiation is crucial for realizing the potential of stem cells for regenerative medicine. We are using the Drosophila male germ line as a powerful genetic system to identify both the cell autonomous determinants and the extrinsic cell-cell interactions that govern stem cell behavior. Our results indicate that signals from surrounding somatic support cells specify asymmetric division of male germ line stem cells by inducing one daughter cell to self-renew stem cell identity while directing the other daughter cell to differentiate. A second major focus concerns how the developmental program remodels fundamental cellular functions like the cell cycle, the cytoskeleton, and the general transcription machinery to give rise to specialized cell types during cellular differentiation. We are investigating the mechanisms that regulate and mediate cellular differentiation during male gametogenesis, using spermatogenesis in Drosophila as a powerful genetic model system.


Specific Projects


Drosophila germline:

• cyst cell-mediated regulation of germ cell behavior (Cameron, Susanna)

• changes in gene expression at the switch from mitosis to meiosis (Jongmin, Dan)

• translational control of meiotic progression (Catherine)

• regulation of the spermatocyte transcription program (Jongmin, Chenggang)

• alternative polyadenylation in the germline (Cameron, Gonzalo)


Mouse germline:

• translational control of the switch from mitosis to meiosis (Alexis)


Drosophila and mouse germline:

• function of the primary cilium (Hosu)



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