© Hélène CHANUT / CBD / CNRS Images
Epidermal cell extension in a fruit fly embryo, observed using a scanning electron microscope. The aim of research scientists is to study the genetic mechanisms that control the way epithelial cells change shape. The formation of these extensions is regulated in space and time by a tripartite gene network comprising Shavenbaby transcription factor (Svb), E3 ubiquitin ligase (Ubr3) and Pri smORF peptides. Pri peptides belong to a new family of smORF peptides whose functioning is relatively poorly understood, but which constitute an unexplored source of molecules of importance to research in agronomy and medicine.