Catarina Mörck

Affiliated Researcher

Visiting address
Medicinaregatan 5
41390 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 413
40530 Göteborg

About Catarina Mörck

Correct migration and guidance of cells and axons are important for animal development and other processes such as immunity and wound healing. Failure to migrate or migration to improper locations can cause severe conditions such as brain defects and lethality. Metastasis, the movement and spread of cancer cells from a primary tumor site, is the main factor accounting for cancer treatment failure and is responsible for 90 % of cancer deaths. Cells and growth cones are guided by attractant and repellent molecules that are conserved in organisms as diverse as human and worms. Many of the genes that encode these guidance molecules and their receptors have already been identified, but how they are regulated genetically and how they signal to downstream pathways are poorly understood. We want to identify novel genes that are involved in guidance and migration. As model system we are using the nematode C. elegans and in particular we are focusing our research on two pairs of neurons, the canal-associated neurons that migrate a long distance posterior and send out axons that grow both posterior and anterior and the hermaphrodite specific neurons that migrate anterior and have axons that grow ventral and anterior. To discover new genes we will use a novel strategy where we will study the gene expression levels specifically in the neurons. Genes found to be upregulated during the migration will later be silenced with RNAi. To find more new genes we will screen for migration mutants and also study suppressors of a mutant that exhibit severe posterior migration defects.