Gene regulatory networks in Drosophila haematopoiesis and myogenesis

Alain Vincent

Michelle Crozatier-borde

05 61 55 82 89
05 61 55 82 90

Team members

  • Vanessa Gobert
  • Marc Haenlin
  • Fernando Roch
  • Michelle Crozatier-borde
  • Laurence Dubois
  • Jean-louis Frendo
  • Nathalie Vanzo
  • Alain Vincent
  • Francois Chassagne
  Associate professor
  • Gaelle Le breton
  Technical staff
  • Benoit Auge-duboe
  • Yannick Carrier
  • Amelie Destenabes
  • Julien Favier
  • Caroline Monod
  • Aurore Pelletier
  Postdoctoral fellow
  • Ismael Morin poulard
  PhD student
  • Douaa Moussalem
  • Yushun Tian
  Master student
  • Delhia Gigan
  • Kylia Hautchamp
  • Leonie Gargouil


Cell identity is progressively established along animal development by the intertwining of transcriptional regulatory cascades and cell signaling pathways. Our team’s research focuses on two developmental programs in Drosophila : i) Larval hematopoiesis and cellular immune responses ; ii) Specification and realization of muscle identity. The historical entry point to these projects was the involvement of Collier (Col), the Drosophila ortholog of vertebrate Early B-Cell Factor (EBF). Col and EBF defined of a novel family of metazoan transcription factors, the COE proteins, characterized by a specific DNA binding domain.

Hematopoieis and cellular immune responses to parasitism.

The Drosophila immune defense relies upon synthesis of anti-microbial peptides and activity of circulating cells, the hemocytes. Larval hematopoiesis takes place in a specialized organ, the lymph gland (LG). Our lab discovered a few years ago that Col was required for specification of the Posterior Signalling Center (PSC) in the LG and the production of lamellocytes, a cryptic hemocyte type, upon wasp parasitism. The PSC was then proposed to control, in a non cell autonomous manner, hemocyte homeostasis in the LG, reminiscent of the vertebrate hematopoietic niche in the bone marrow. Transcriptome analyses of LGs in col mutants and following parasitism (unpublished) revealed the role of JAK-STAT signalling in pro-hemocyte and BMP and Robo signaling (submitted) in controlling PSC size and morphology. While the PSC contributes to LG homeostasis by regulating blood cell differentiation, col cell autonomously maintains a core population of LG progenitors. Lineage tracing further indicated that the hematopoietic progenitor population is heterogenous.
Our current projects focus on identifying parameters of prohemocyte plasticity, including the role of the vascular system, and how the PSC controls the cellular immune response to parasitism. Genetic manipulation of different cell types in the LG is expected to provide novel insight into the communication between the niche(s) and hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors in the mammalian bone marrow.

Building the muscle pattern; Specification and realization of muscle identity

Textbook drawings of human anatomy illustrate the morphological diversity of body muscles allowing precision and strength of movements. Each Drosophila skeletal muscle displays a specific morphological identity (size, shape, orientation, innervation) and forms by fusion of a Founder Cells (FC) with naïve myoblasts. FCs originate from muscle progenitor cells (PCs) specified at fixed position and time within the somatic mesoderm. Our laboratory contributed to show that muscle identity reflects the expression by each PC/FC of a specific combination of “identity” transcription factors, and integrates temporal, positional and Homeotic information. Transcriptional identity is then propagated to recruited naive myoblasts upon fusion. We recently genetically identified new iTFs. This  provided a novel, dynamic view of the transcriptional control of muscle identity, including lineage-specific regulatory loops connecting evolutionarily conserved identity and general myogenic Transcription Factors (submitted).
Ongoing work aims at identifying muscle identity realisator genes, using genome-wide profiling and computational approaches -TF and Cis-Regulatory Modules-, and understanding how the generic myogenic and muscle identity programs are coordinated to generate the stereotypical muscle pattern.

Article under revision (05 2016): “Integrating transcriptional dynamics of muscle identity and differentiation programs during Drosophila muscle development“

Article under revision (05 2016) “Genetic dissection of the Transcription Factor code controlling serial specification of muscle identities in Drosophila

The Thoracic Alary-Related Muscles; A novel type of deformable muscles. (see new project)



The Thoracic Alary-Related Muscles; A novel type of deformable muscles.

Specification and realization of muscle identity.

Gene regulatory networks in Drosophila hematopoiesis; Hematopoietic Progenitors and their niche(s).


View all publications




Former PhD students; present position


Manon LETOURNEAU, 2014-2018

Post-Doc, University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada,


Alexandre CARAYON 2015-2018

Post-Doc, Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield , UK


Isabelle LOURADOUR, 2012-2015

Post‐Doc, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, USA


Ismaël MORIN-POULARD, 2011-2014

Post-Doc CBI, Toulouse


Mathilde de TAFFIN, 2010-2013

Catholic Sisterhood


Hadi BOUKHATMI, 2009-2012

Post-Doc, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Delphine PENNETIER, 2008-2011


Jonathan ENRIQUEZ, 2007-2010

PI, Development and function of the neuromuscular system, IGFL, Lyon


Rami MAKKI, 2006-2009                   

Post-Doc, The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK


Joanna KRZEMIEN 2006-2008 

Project Manager, University of St Andrews, Scotland;


Sébastien MELLA, 1999-2003

Bio-informatician, Institut Pasteur, Paris


Laurence DUBOIS 1995-1998

CNRS Research associate, Toulouse


Abderhamann K’HILA, 1999-2002 (Co-supervision S. Ibnsouda, University Fes)

PI, Developmental genomics and evolution, IGFL, Lyon;


Saad IbnSOUDA, 1991-1993, (+ Doctorat d’état 1997)

PI Directeur Laboratoire Biologie Microbienne, Université de Fes, Maroc


Stéphane NOSELLI, 1989-1992                                             

Director, Institut Valrose, Nice

PI Epithelial Morphogenesis and left-right asymmetry in Drosophila.;


Valérie LEFRERE, 1989-1991 (Co-supervision F. Amalric, IBCG, Toulouse)                         

Assistant-Professor, LBAE, Auch,


François PAYRE, 1987-1990,  > 1988 (PhD + post-doc)

PI, Control of Cell Shape Remodeling, CBD Toulouse franç  


François SCHWEISGUTH, 1987-1990 (Co-supervision, JA Lepesant, IJM Paris)        

PI, Drosophila Developmental Genetics, Pasteur Institute, Paris.


POST-DOCs; present position

Nathalie COLOMBIé, 2017-2018

Engineer, digital technology company;


Anurag SHARMA, 2013-2016

PI, Nitte University Centre for Science, Mangalore , India,


Laetitia BATAILLE, 2010-2011

INSERM Research Associate, CBI, Toulouse


Justine OYALLON, 2008-2011

Professor de Asignatura, Departamento de Biología Celular, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


Bruno GLISE, 2003-2005                     

Assistant Professor, University of Toulouse, Team Morphogens and Glial specification


François AGNES, 1987

Assistant Professor, University Paris Sud, Team Développement et Evolution du Cerveau Antérieur


Fabien CROZET, 1999-2000

CEO DPO Consulting Occitanie


Michel VERVOORT, 1997-1998

Professor, PI, Metazoan Development and Evolution, Institut Jacques Monod, Paris,;


Denise VALLE  1994-1996      

Deputy PI,  Instituto Oswaldo Cruz and INCT-EM, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil,


Michèle CROZATIER, 1988-1990

Co-PI since 2002;


Research Associates and Visiting Scientists

Pierre FERRER, 1988-2000



Maryvonne MEVEL-NINIO, 1994



Pasqualina BUONO, 1995

Professor, DSMB, University of Naples "Parthenope,", Naples, Italy.



ESPCI ParisTech-CNRS Paris, Team Plasticité du Cerveau


Université Paul Sabatier
118 Route de Narbonne

31062 TOULOUSE Cedex

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