COE Study Abroad Project Report


Meeting report on the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Cilia, Mucus & Mucociliary Interactions.(U.S.A.)

Satoko Yoshiba, Master's course student

Meeting report on the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Cilia, Mucus & Mucociliary Interactions.

GRC on cilia 2005 was held 02/27/2005-03/04/2005 at Santa Ynez Valley Marriot in Buellton, California, within an hour drive from thousands of beautiful wineries and scenic beaches. The conference was essentially separated into two parts, cilia and mucus. I presented a poster in the former part.

Cilia are microtubule-rich, hair-like cellular extensions and are highly conserved organelles among the species. The assembly and maintenance of these organelles require intraflagellar transport (IFT) and a loss of IFT related proteins causes several diseases such as polycystic kidney disease. Before this conference I have thought a conference on cilia would be a very specialized field, but it was not. Cilia are one of the essential components of cell signaling and can work at the center of this activity. Leaders in this field including Joel Rosenbaum, an authority on IFT, Susan Dutcher, and Peter Satir attended this meeting. Discussions were so active that the chairperson sometimes had to stop them to allow the session to continue.

I heard many research topics on cilia as cellular sensors. I am working with early developing mouse embryos, in which rotating cilia in the node (the organizer) produce leftward fluid flow (nodal flow) and the direction of the flow determines left-right (L-R) asymmetry. These nodal cilia are also thought to be sensors of nodal flow, triggering asymmetric calcium influx at the edge of the node, leading to the first asymmetric gene expression. In this meeting I reported our preliminary work that the cilia in the node might not be the flow sensors.

Although I tended to hesitate in making discussion because of my difficulty in speaking English, many of the graduate students I met from other countries had a strong desire to learn and to discuss. Active discussion with many researchers is my future task. Totally I got a lot from this conference. This was great experience to me.

Finally I thank everyone who helped me and the COE program for financial support and for providing me this great opportunity.