Our Germline Development Lab opens Fall 2022! Our research mission is to understand how egg and sperm precursors fulfill their unique potential to generate fertile and healthy offspring using Drosophila, mouse, and cell culture models. We do this work with the broader goal of bolstering access to, and resilience within, a variety of research career development tracks.
Our group is situated within the vibrant Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology at University of Texas San Antonio. We are a nascent lab recruiting at multiple levels - join us in our quest to understand the underpinnings of fertility!
How do primordial germ cells yield sperm and eggs?
In sexually-reproducing animals, the transfer of genetic material across generations is imparted through the germline. Primordial germ cells are the foundational germline cells that eventually give rise to egg and sperm and thus are essential to fertility and propagation of species. Given this importance, in most animals primordial germ cells are set aside very early in embryogenesis, well before formation of the testis and ovaries. Therefore, germ cells must migrate through several tissues to populate the somatic gonads in order to yield sperm and eggs. Our lab aims to understand how this epic journey is spatially and temporally coordinated in the dynamic embryo using a diverse combination of molecular, genetic, and imaging methods. Our overarching approach relies first on the classic genetic model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify novel requirements and unravel complex cell-cell interactions and then on the mouse model to identify deeply conserved features of reproductive development.
How do Juvenile Hormones regulate reproductive development?
Juvenile Hormones are small isoprenoid molecules that coordinate developmental timing and growth. Like isoprene-containing Retinoic Acids, Juvenile Hormones have profound impacts on fertility. We aim to understand how exquisite regulation of these small molecules drives reproductive development using a suite of genetic and imaging tools we developed in the Drosophila melangaster model system.
Lacy J Barton, PhD
Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology
University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
Barton LJ, Sanny J, Dawson EP, Nouzova M, Noriega FG, Stadtfeld M and Lehmann R “Isoprenoids guide migrating germ cells to the embryonic gonad” bioRxiv 2021.09.30.462471
Barton LJ, Duan T, Ke W, Luttinger A, Lovander KE, Soshnev AA and Geyer PK, “Nuclear lamina dysfunction triggers a novel germline stem cell checkpoint” Nat Comm 2018 Sep 27; 9: 3960
Barton LJ*, LeBlanc MG*, Lehmann R, “Finding their way: themes in germ cell migration" Curr Opin Cell Biol, 2016 October; 42:128-137 (*contributed equally)
Barton LJ*, Lovander KE*, Pinto BS, Geyer PK, “Drosophila male and female germline stem cell niches require the nuclear lamina protein Otefin” Dev Biol, 2016 July 1; 415(1):75-86 (*contributed equally)
Barton LJ, Soshnev AA and Geyer PK “Networking at the nucleus: a spotlight on LEM-domain proteins” Curr Opin Cell Biol, 2015 Jun;34:1-8
Barton LJ and Geyer PK “Stacking the deck for the next generation”. Mol Reprod Dev, 2014 Jun;81(6):481
Barton LJ, Wilmington SR, Martin MJ, Skopec HM, Lovander KE, Pinto BS and Geyer PK “Unique and shared functions of nuclear lamina LEM domain proteins in Drosophila” Genetics, 2014 Jun;197(2):653-65
Barton LJ*, Pinto BS., Wallrath L and Geyer PK “The Drosophila nuclear lamina protein Otefin is required for germline stem cell survival” Dev Cell, 2013 Jun 24; 25(6):645-54 (*contributed equally) - Recommended by F1000
Schneider I, Schneider PN, Derry SW, Lin S, Barton LJ, Westfall T, Slusarski DC “Zebrafish Nkd1 promotes Dvl degradation and is required for left-right patterning” Dev Biol, 2010 Dec 1;348(1):22-33.