Department of MBS

Phone: (512) 471-5105
Fax: (512) 471-1218

NHB 2.606, Stop A5000
100 East 24th St.
Austin TX 78712


David S Stein

Molecular Biosciences

Signal Transduction Pathways controlling Embryo Development

Phone: 512-232-3378

Office Location
PAT 532

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences
2506 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712

Research Summary:

Research in our lab is focused mainly on the question of how a complex multicellular organism develops from a single cell, the fertilized Drosophila egg. Specifically, we are studying how Drosophila embryonic dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior polarity is established. The embryonic dorsal-ventral axis is defined by a ventrally-produced extracellular ligand which binds to and activates Toll, a receptor protein present throughout the membrane of the early embryo. Similarly, formation of the anterior and posterior termini of the Drosophila embryo is controlled by an extracellular ligand that activates another uniformly distributed receptor protein, Torso, specificially at the two ends of the embryo. Experiments in our lab are aimed at understanding at the molecular level how spatially-restricted activation of these two receptors is accomplished and defines embryonic pattern along the dorsal-ventral axis and at the embryonic termini. Finally, we are interested in the development of new experimental technologies that can be applied to the analysis of biological questions. In this context, a third project in the lab has to goal of developing an experimental optogenetic strategy that will permit light-induced elimination of protein function for phenotypic analysis in vivo.


2014 Stein DS, and Stevens, LM, Maternal control of the Drosophila dorsal-ventral body axis, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology, doi: 10.1002/wdev.138

2013 Stein D, Cho YS, and Stevens, LM, Localized serine protease activity and the establishment of Drosophila embryonic dorsoventral polarity, Fly 7: 161-167

2012 Cho YS, Stevens LM, Sievermann KJ, Nguyen J, and Stein D , A ventrally localized protease in the Drosophila egg controls embryo dorsoventral polarity, Current Biology 22: 1013-1018

2010 Stein D, Charatsi I, Cho YS, Zhang Z, Nguyen J, DeLotto R, Luschnig S, and Moussian B, Localization and activation of the Drosophila protease Easter required the ER-resident saposin-like protein seele, Current Biology 20: 1953-1958

2010 Cho YS, Stevens LM, and Stein D , Pipe-dependent ventral processing of Easter by Snake is the defining step in Drosophila embryo DV axis formation, Current Biology 20: 1133-1137

2009 Zhang Z, Zhu X, Stevens LM, and Stein D , Distinct functional specificities are associated with protein isoforms encoded by the Drosophila Dorsal-Ventral patterning gene pipe, Development 136: 2779-2789

2009 Zhang Z, Stevens LM, and Stein D, Sulfation of Eggshell Components by Pipe Defines Dorsal-Ventral Polarity in the Drosophila Embryo, Current Biology 19: 1200-1205

2008 Zhu X, Stevens LM, and Stein D, No requirement for localized Nudel protein expression in Drosophila embryonic axis determination, Fly 2: 220-228

2007 Zhu X, Stevens LM, and Stein D, Synthesis of the sulfate donor PAPS in either the Drosophila germline or somatic follicle cells can support embryonic dorsal-ventral axis formation, Development 134: 1465-1469

2006 Biswas R, Stein D, and Stanley ER, Drosophila Dok is required for embryonic dorsal closure, Development 133: 217-227

2005 Werz C, Lee TV, Lee PL, Lackey M, Bolduc C, Stein DS, and Bergmann A, Mis-specified cells die by an active gene-directed process, and inhibition of this death results in cell fate transformation in Drosophila , Development 132: 5343-5352

2005 Zhu X, Sen J, Stevens L, Goltz JS, and Stein D, Drosophila Pipe protein activity in the ovary and the embryonic salivary gland do not require heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans, Development 132: 3813-3822

2004 Maines JZ, Stevens LM, Tong X, and Stein D, Drosophila dMyc is required for ovary cell growth and endoreplication, Development 131: 775-786

2004 Zhu X, and Stein D, RNAi-mediated inhibition of gene function in the follicle cell layer of the Drosophila ovary, Genesis 40: 101-108

2003 Stevens LM, Beuchle D, Jurcsak J, Tong X, and Stein D, The Drosophila embryonic patterning determinant torsolike is a component of the eggshell, Current Biology 13: 1058-1063

BIO349 Developmental Biology

BIO383K Developmental Biology (Graduate)

MOL190 Seminar in Molecular Biology (1st year)