2017 WINNERS


Systems Analysis of the Dynamic Inflammatory Response to Tissue Damage

Following tissue damage, a complex repair process is initiated to restore the integrity of the injured tissue. Re-epithelialisation is accompanied by a rapid inflammatory response, whereby cells of the innate immune system (here, Drosophila macrophages called ‘hemocytes’) are rapidly recruited to the damaged area. Although we can live-image this process with high spatial and temporal resolution in vivo, the precise identity and properties of the immune damage attractants remain unclear.

Here, we employ an alternative computational approach to extract detailed information about the wound attractant signal from the in vivo dynamic behaviour of the responding immune cells. Using this novel approach, we have uncovered new insight into the spatio-temporal properties of the wound attractant, revealing precisely how the damage signal spreads out from the injury site in space and time, and inferring parameters such as the diffusion coefficient, source, and duration of active signal production. Our study highlights the valuable insight that can be extracted from in vivo imaging data if more sophisticated analysis tools are employed, that would otherwise remain experimentally inaccessible.

Weavers H, Liepe J, Sim A, Wood W, Martin P & Stumpf M. (2016)
Systems Analysis of the Dynamic Inflammatory Response to Tissue Damage Reveals Spatiotemporal Properties of the Wound Attractant Gradient
Current Biology 26, 1975-1989 (2016)
doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.012


The basis of food texture sensation in Drosophila

Food texture such as the degree of hardness, plays a very important role in regulating food preference in animals. In the fruit fly, food texture sensation depends on a multidendritic neuron (md-L) in its tongue – the labellum. The mechanical forces produced by food chewing activate the md-L neuron, which in turn transmits food texture information to the brain. Shown is an md-L neuron (green) extending elaborate dendrites to the bases of many taste hairs. The red shows rows of spring-like structures in the fly tongue.

Reference: Zhang, Y.V., Aikin, T.J., Li, Z., and Montell, C. (2016).
The basis of food texture sensation in Drosophila.
Neuron 91, 863-877. PMID: 27478019