Ruth Lehmann

Biosketch / Results /

Ruth Lehmann

Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology
Chair of the Department of Cell Biology

Contact Info

550 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016


Research Summary

In most organisms, primordial germ cells (PGCs) are set-aside early during embryogenesis. Subsequently, PGCs migrate through the embryo, associate with somatic gonadal cells and form the gonad. While PGCs seem highly specialized, their products are the ultimate stem cells that generate a complete organism generation after generation. Our long-term goal is to functionally dissect the germ cell life cycle in Drosophila. Projects in the lab focus on three areas. 1) PGC specification. Early Drosophila germ cells form in a specialized germplasm and upon formation are transcriptionally silent. We are interested how RNAs localized to germ plasm are regulated and contribute to germ cell formation and fate, how gene expression is regulated during germ cell development and how the reproductive success of individual PGCs is determined. 2) PGC migration. Taking advantage of in vitro migration assays and live imaging, we study molecular and cellular aspects of germ cell migration to understand how the migratory program is established, how phospholipid signals contribute guidance cues to PGCs and how PGCs cease migration once they reach the somatic gonad. 3) Germ cell genome protection. Germ cells give rise to a new generation, thus integrity of the germ cell genome has to be protected while at the same time there has to be room for improvement via mutation and recombination. We study how host mechanisms evolved to protect the genome against transposable elements and how other intruders such as bacteria influence germ line function and reproductive success.

Research Keywords

germ cell development, translational regulation, RNA localization and transport, germ plasm assembly, cell migration, germ line stem cells, piRNAs, transposable elements, Wolbachia, cancer, developmental genetics, genome integrity, RNA biology, stem cell biology

Long Oskar Controls Mitochondrial Inheritance in Drosophila melanogaster
Hurd, Thomas Ryan; Herrmann, Beate; Sauerwald, Julia; Sanny, Justina; Grosch, Markus; Lehmann, Ruth. Long Oskar Controls Mitochondrial Inheritance in Drosophila melanogaster. Developmental cell. 2016 Dec 05;39(5):560-571 (2353492)

Finding their way: themes in germ cell migration
Barton, Lacy J; LeBlanc, Michelle G; Lehmann, Ruth. Finding their way: themes in germ cell migration. Current opinion in cell biology. 2016 Oct;42:128-137 (2226952)

Preprints for the life sciences
Berg, Jeremy M; Bhalla, Needhi; Bourne, Philip E; Chalfie, Martin; Drubin, David G; Fraser, James S; Greider, Carol W; Hendricks, Michael; Jones, Chonnettia; Kiley, Robert; King, Susan; Kirschner, Marc W; Krumholz, Harlan M; Lehmann, Ruth; Leptin, Maria; Pulverer, Bernd; Rosenzweig, Brooke; Spiro, John E; Stebbins, Michael; Strasser, Carly; Swaminathan, Sowmya; Turner, Paul; Vale, Ronald D; VijayRaghavan, K; Wolberger, Cynthia. Preprints for the life sciences. Science. 2016 May 20;352(6288):899-901 (2112392)

Regulation of Ribosome Biogenesis and Protein Synthesis Controls Germline Stem Cell Differentiation
Sanchez, Carlos G; Teixeira, Felipe Karam; Czech, Benjamin; Preall, Jonathan B; Zamparini, Andrea L; Seifert, Jessica R K; Malone, Colin D; Hannon, Gregory J; Lehmann, Ruth. Regulation of Ribosome Biogenesis and Protein Synthesis Controls Germline Stem Cell Differentiation. Cell stem cell. 2016 Feb 04;18(2):276-290 (1877922)

Germ Plasm Biogenesis-An Oskar-Centric Perspective
Lehmann, Ruth. Germ Plasm Biogenesis-An Oskar-Centric Perspective. Current topics in developmental biology. 2016 ;116:679-707 (2024632)