Louis Block Professor Emeritus, Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology,
Committee on Developmental Biology, Committee on Genetics
B.S., Biology, Spring Hill College, 1958
Ph.D., Biology, Johns Hopkins University, 1962
My laboratory is investigating the
genetic control of key developmental events, using Drosophila
melanogaster as our organism. Our approach has been to identify
genetically as many of the components of the process as possible,
attempt to order these elements through genetic interactions, and
then move to a molecular analysis of the central genes in the process.
Since becoming Emeritus, I have concentrated on a set of mutations
that affect the mitochondrial derivative during spermiogenesis.
In wild-type flies all the mitochondria in each spermatid fuse into
two mitochondria which interweave with each other in the Nebenkern.
During growth of the axoneme the two mitochondria unwind from each
other and extend along the growing axoneme. Mutations which interfere
with either the fusion process or the extension process are sterile.
Efforts are in progress to identify the molecular processes involved
in more than 25 different mutations affecting these events. I also
continue a collaboration with Dr. Yuzo Niki in Japan to develop
protocols for the culture of ovarian germline stem cells. We have
shown that cultured cells can repopulate the germline and produce
functional eggs. We currently have stable cultures composed of mixed
populations of somatic and germline cells. If gene replacement methods
can be developed for germline cells in these cultures, these cells
could be the source for genetically modified germlines in flies.
Srinivasan, S., Mahowald, A. P. and Fuller, M. T. 2012. The receptor phosphatase Lar regulates adhesion between Drosophila male germline stem cells and the niche. Development 139: 1381-1390. (PubMed)
Lu, W., Casanueva, M. O., Mahowald, A. P., Kato, M., Lauterbach, D., and Ferguson, E. L. 2012. Niche-associated acgivation of rac promotes the asymmetric division of Drosophila female germline stem cells. PLoS Biol. 10: e1001357. (PubMed)
Chatterjuee, N., Rollins, J., Mahowald, A. P., and Bazinet, C. 2011. Neurotransmitter Transporter-Like: a male germline-specific SLC6 transporter required for Drosophila spermiogenesis. PLoS ONE 6: e16275. (PubMed)
Yamashita, Y. M., Mahowald, A. P.,
Perlin, J. R., and Fuller, M. T. 2007. Asymmetric inheritance of
mother versus daughter centrosome in stem cell division. Science
Niki, Y., Yamaguchi, T., and Mahowald,
A. P. 2006. Establishment of stable cell lines of Drosophila germline
stem cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 16325-16330. (PubMed)
Tazuke, S. I., C. Schulz, L. Gilboa,
A. P. Mahowald, A. Guichet, A. Ephrussi, C. G. Wood, R. Lehmann
and M. T. Fuller. 2002. A germ line specfic gap junction protein
is required for survival of differentiating early germ cells. Development
Niki, Y. and Mahowald, A. P. (2003).
"Ovarian cystocytes can repopulate the embryonic germ line
and produce functional gametes." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100:
Mahowald, A. P. (2001). "Assembly
of the Drosophila germ plasm." Int Rev Cytol 203: 187-213. (PubMed)