Tissue-Level Communication Through Patterning Of Intercellular Ca2+ Wave Dynamics

By Jeremiah J. Zartman

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN

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Identification of the cell-cell communication mechanisms that integrate information at multiple hierarchical scales from cells to the whole organism is a grand challenge for developmental biology with broad implications in regenerative medicine. In particular, how some organs can recover from wounding and repair tissue patterning is still largely a mystery. One critical component during wound healing and regeneration is the regulation of calcium (Ca2+) ions, which are second messengers that integrate information from multiple signaling pathways. Here we characterize periodic intercellular Ca2+ waves (ICWs) in a model organ system of epithelial growth and patterning—the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. We developed a novel regulated environment for micro-organs (REM-Chip) device that enable a broad range of genetic, chemical and mechanical perturbations during live imaging and have created an image processing pipeline to analyze Ca2+ dynamics. We propose that the patterning of ICWs reflects underlying morphogenetic patterning of developing tissues and that the ICWs provide information transmission between compartments within the organ. Long distance communication networks through gap junctions thus could provide a general physiological-based mechanism for coordinating cellular activity in epithelial tissues during development and wound healing. Thus, integrative mechanistic insights into the cross-talk between Ca2+ and morphogen signaling pathways have a broad range of potential medical applications including for diagnostics and therapeutics.


Jeremiah Zartman Dr. Jeremiah Zartman received his Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a dual major in Chemical Engineering and Engineering Physics in 2004. In 2009 he obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Stanislav Shvartsman at Princeton University as a Princeton Hertz Fellow. From 2009-2011, he worked as post-doctoral research in the lab of Prof. Konrad Basler, University of Zurich, in Molecular Life Sciences as an EMBO Long-term Post-doctoral Fellow. Since the winter of 2012, Dr. Zartman has led a research group at the University of Notre Dame and has received an NSF CAREER award in 2016. The lab focuses on the integration of computational and experimental approaches toward the development and function of multicellular systems as well as the development of advanced in vivo and in vitro screening approaches for target discovery in cancer and regenerative medicine.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Jeremiah J. Zartman (2016), "Tissue-Level Communication Through Patterning Of Intercellular Ca2+ Wave Dynamics," https://nanohub.org/resources/25304.

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