Maria Mandela Prünster

Evolution of protein interactions involved in epithelial building and patterning (EPIE)

Team: André Le Bivic (IBDM) - Emmanuelle Renard (IMBE) - Bianca Habermann (IBDM)

Her background

September 2019 - present | CENTURI postdoctoral fellow

2015 - 2018 | PhD - Sorbonne Université (Paris)

2007 - 2013 | MSc in Zoology - University of Vienna (AT)

2006 - 2007 | BSc in Zoology - University of Vienna (AT)

About her postdoctoral project

The emergence of epithelial layers is one of the key innovations characterizing the Metazoan lineage. The criteria defining an animal epithelium (basement membrane, junctions, cell polarity) were based on the observation of bilaterian models only, pushing aside the structural diversity of epithelia found in non-bilaterian lineages (Porifera, Ctenophora, Placozoa and Cnidaria). To decipher the minimal and ancestral toolkit of animal epithelia and trace back how and when the bilaterian epithelial features emerged, computational and experimental comparative analyzes on non-bilaterian animals are needed. This project aims at determining the proteins involved in the junctions of homoscleromorph sponges, the only sponge class where adherent-like actin-rich junctions were described as adherence junctions (AJ): this work will enable to test the homology of these structures with bilaterian AJs.