A central challenge in biology is to understand how cells become organized into tissues, and how tissue growth is coordinated with tissue organization. The McNeill lab combines genetic screens, high-resolution imaging and biochemical dissection of signaling pathways in flies, mice and hydra to uncover these basic and conserved mechanisms.
A focus in the laboratory is to understand how Fat cadherins function in Hippo pathway-regulated growth control, planar cell polarity (PCP) tissue organization and metabolism. Fat cadherins are enormous cell adhesion molecules that bind via cadherin-cadherin interactions to another large cadherin called Dachsous (Ds). The Hippo pathway is a highly conserved signaling pathway that regulates proliferation and apoptosis via control of the activity of the transcriptional co-activators Yorkie/YAP. We use the fly eye, wing, testes and ovaries and the mouse kidney as models for dissecting the function of these pathways.