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José Carlos Pastor-Pareja

José Carlos Pastor-Pareja, Ph.D.

One of the main barriers to our understanding of living organisms is complexity at the level of tissues. Basement membranes (BMs) are polymers of matrix proteins that underlie epithelia and surround organs, thus supporting tissue organization in all animals. BMs and their components play essential roles in morphogenesis, cell signaling, immune responses, regeneration and tumor progression. Besides their roles in normal developmental and physiological processes, a wide array of human disorders result from defects in extracellular matrix (ECM) assembly or composition. These diseases include fibrosis, caused by excessive ECM accumulation, and many congenital syndromes caused by mutations in BM components and modifying enzymes, affecting the skin, kidney, eyes, cardiovascular system, muscles, cartilage, bones and other connective tissue. In Jose’s laboratory, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is used as a model system to study tissue morphogenesis and BM biology. The sophisticated genetic tools available in Drosophila, coupled to the evolutionary conservation of the ECM and little genetic redundancy, make fruit flies an ideal system to address the secretion of Collagen IV and other large matrix proteins, their assembly into extracellular polymers, the developmental functions of BMs and the pathological consequences of their misassembly.

José obtained his Ph.D. from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, under the direction of Antonio García-Bellido. He then did postdoctoral work with Tian Xu at Yale School of Medicine-HHMI. Now, he is a tenured associate professor in the School of Life Sciences at Tsinghua. 

Recent publications:

1.          Dai J, Estrada B, Jacobs S, Sanchez-Sanchez-B, Tang J, Ma M, Pastor-Pareja JC*, Martin-Bermudo MD* (2018). Dissection of Nidogen function in Drosophila reveals tissue-specific mechanisms of basement membrane assembly. PLoS Genet 14(9):e1007483

2.         Ke H, Feng Z, Liu M, Sun T, Dai J, Liu L-P, Ni J-Q, Pastor-Pareja JC* (2018). Collagen secretion screening in Drosophila supports a common secretory machinery and multiple Rab requirements. J Genet Genom 45:299-313.

3.         Dai J, Ma M, Feng Z, Pastor-Pareja JC*. (2017). Inter-adipocyte adhesion and signaling by Collagen IV concentrations in Drosophila. Curr Biol 27:1-12. 

4.         Ma M, Cao, Dai J, Pastor-Pareja JC*. (2017). Basement membrane manipulation in Drosophila wing discs affects Dpp retention but not growth mechanoregulation. Dev Cell 42:97-106.

5.         Liu M#, Feng Z#, Ke H, Liu Y, Sun T, Dai J, Cui W, Pastor-Pareja JC* (2017). Tango1 spatially organizes ER exit sites to control ER export. J Cell Biol 216:1035-59.

6.         Zang Y#, Wan M#, Liu M, Ke H, Ma S, Liu LP, Ni JQ, Pastor-Pareja JC*. (2015). Plasma membrane overgrowth causes fibrotic collagen accumulation and immune activation in Drosophila adipocytes. eLIFE 10.7554/eLife.07187.



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