Deborah M Cottam

University of St Andrews, Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (10)31.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we describe a new type of non-centrosomal microtubule-organising centre (MTOC), which is induced by cold treatment of certain cultured Drosophila cells and allows rapid reassembly of microtubule (MT) arrays. Prolonged cooling of two types of cultured Drosophila cells, muscle cells in primary culture and a wing imaginal disc cell line Cl.8+ results in disassembly of MT arrays and induces the formation of clusters of short MTs that have not been described before. Upon rewarming, the clusters are lost and the MT array is re-established within 1 h. In Cl.8+ cells, gamma-tubulin-containing centrosomes are detected, both in cell extensions and in the expected juxtanuclear position, and gamma-tubulin co-localises with the cold-induced MT clusters. The MT plus-end-binding protein, Drosophila EB1, decorates growing tips of MTs extending from clusters. We conclude that the cold-induced MT clusters represent acentrosomal MTOCs, allowing rapid reassembly of MT arrays following exposure to cold.
    Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 02/2006; 63(2):88-100. DOI:10.1002/cm.20103 · 4.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using primary embryonic Drosophila cell cultures, we have investigated the assembly of transcellular microtubule bundles in epidermal tendon cells. Muscles attach to the tendon cells of previously undescribed epidermal balls that form shortly after culture initiation. Basal capture of microtubule ends in cultured tendon cells is confined to discrete sites that occupy a relatively small proportion of the basal cell surface. These capturing sites are associated with hemiadherens junctions that link the ends of muscle cells to tendon cell bases. In vivo, muscle attachment and microtubule capture occur across the entire cell base. The cultured tendon cells reveal that the basal ends of their microtubules can be precisely targeted to small, pre-existing, structurally well-defined cortical capturing sites. However, a search and capture targeting procedure, such as that undertaken by kinetochore microtubules, cannot fully account for the precision of microtubule capture and positioning in tendon cells. We propose that cross-linkage of microtubules is also required to zip them into apicobasally oriented alignment, progressing from captured basal plus ends to apical minus ends. This involves repositioning of apical minus ends before they become anchored to an apical set of hemiadherens junctions. The proposal is consistent with our finding that hemiadherens junctions assemble at tendon cell bases before they do so at cell apices in both cultures and embryos. It is argued that control of microtubule positioning in the challenging spatial situations found in vitro involves the same procedures as those that operate in vivo.
    Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 03/2004; 57(3):175-85. DOI:10.1002/cm.10167 · 4.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ance is a single domain homologue of mammalian angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and is important for normal development and reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster. Mammalian ACE is responsible for the synthesis of angiotensin II and the inactivation of bradykinin and N -acetyl-Ser-Asp-Lys-Pro, but the absence of similar peptide hormones in insects suggests novel functions for Ance. We now provide evidence in support of a role for Ance during Drosophila metamorphosis. The transition of larva to pupa was accompanied by a 3-fold increase in ACE-like activity, which subsequently dropped to larval levels on adult eclosion. This increase was attributed to the induction of Ance expression during the wandering phase of the last larval instar in the imaginal cells (imaginal discs, abdominal histoblasts, gut imaginal cells and imaginal salivary gland). Ance expression was particularly strong in the presumptive adult midgut formed as a result of massive proliferation of the imaginal midgut cells soon after pupariation. No Ance transcripts were detected in the midgut of the fully differentiated adult intestine. Ance protein and mRNA were not detected in imaginal discs from wandering larvae of flies homozygous for the ecd ( 1 ) allele, a temperature-sensitive ecdysone-less mutant, suggesting that Ance expression is ecdysteroid-dependent. Physiological levels of 20-hydroxyecdysone induced the synthesis of ACE-like activity and Ance protein by a wing disc cell line (Cl.8+), confirming that Ance is an ecdysteroid-responsive gene. We propose that the expression of Ance in imaginal cells is co-ordinated by exposure to ecdysteroid (moulting hormone) during the last larval instar moult to increase levels of ACE-like activity during metamorphosis. The enzyme activity may be required for the processing of a developmental peptide hormone or may function in concert with other peptidases to provide amino acids for the synthesis of adult proteins.
    Biochemical Journal 11/2002; 367(Pt 1):187-93. DOI:10.1042/BJ20020567 · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many plant compounds are able to modulate growth and reproduction of herbivores by directly interacting with steroid hormone systems. In insects, several classes of phytochemicals, including the phytoestrogens, interfere with molting and reproduction. We investigated whether the anti-ecdysone activity may be due to interaction with the ecdysone receptor (EcR) using a reporter-gene assay and a cell differentiation assay of an ecdysone-responsive cell line, Cl.8+. We tested rutin (delays molt in insects); four flavones: luteolin and quercetin (metabolites of rutin), and apigenin and chrysin; and three non-flavones, coumestrol and genistein (both estrogenic) and tomatine (alters molt in insects). None of the phytochemicals tested were ecdysone agonists in the reporter-gene assay, but the flavones were able to significantly inhibit EcR-dependent gene transcription. In the Cl.8+ cells, quercetin and coumestrol were mixed agonists/antagonists, while genistein, tomatine and apigenin showed a synergistic effect with ecdysteroid in the reduction of cell growth. We suggest that the rutin effects on molting in insects are most likely due to the metabolites, luteolin or quercetin, while tomatine acts via a non-EcR pathway. Flavones not only interact with EcR and estrogen receptor (ER), but also signal nitrogen-fixing bacteria to form root nodules. The NodD protein which regulates this symbiosis has two ligand-binding domains similar to human ERalpha. The evolutionary significance of these findings are discussed.
    The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 07/2001; 77(4-5):229-38. DOI:10.1016/S0960-0760(01)00067-X · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drosophila imaginal disc cell lines were used to investigate various aspects of cellular adhesion in vitro. The distribution of PS integrins and their involvement in cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion were assessed with the monoclonal antibody aBG-1 against the betaPS subunit, and both forms of adhesion were found to be impeded by the presence of the antibody. Adhesion to a number of extracellular matrix components was investigated, and the cells were found to adhere to human fibronectin. This adhesion was inhibited by aBG-1. The adhesion molecule fasciclin III was also found in these cells. Given that the cells are competent to perform cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion, it was thought that apical basal polarity might be restored when other suitable conditions were provided, i.e., an artificial basement layer with feeder cells to provide nutrients basally to the cells, and some features of apical-basal morphology were seen in cells cultured under these conditions.
    In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal 04/2000; 36(3):180-7. DOI:10.1290/1071-2690(2000)036<0180:CCACSA>2.0.CO;2 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have used our imaginal disc cell lines to carry out in vitro studies on the cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion of Drosophila leg and wing disc cells. Single cells were allowed to reaggregate in roller culture, and this process was found to be partially dependent on the presence of magnesium and calcium ions in the suspension medium. Varying rates of reaggregation were observed in cells from different stages of a passage, correlating with the pattern of morphogenesis which occurs during the passage. We have demonstrated that cloned cell lines can be produced showing certain selected characteristics, such as reduced cell adhesiveness.
    In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal 04/2000; 36(3):174-9. DOI:10.1290/1071-2690(2000)036<0174:AODIDC>2.0.CO;2 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study was done to determine whether PAHs and PCBs can interact with the arthropod steroid hormone system. Ecdysteroid molting hormones control growth, molting, and reproduction in arthropods. A spike in 20-OH ecdysone (20 HE) triggers the molt cycle in crustaceans, and earlier studies have shown that PAHs can affect this molt cycle in several crab species. However, the mechanism of this molt cycle interaction is unknown. Both PAHs and PCBs interact with other nuclear receptors; however, nothing is known about their ability to interact with the invertebrate ecdysone receptor (EcR). Four PAHs, benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, pyrene, and chrysene, and the commercial PCB mixture, Aroclor 1254, were used to determine the ability of these classes of compounds to induce ecdysone-dependent reporter gene expression and to modify the proliferation and differentiation response of the ecdysteroid-responsive Cl.8+ cell line. The four PAHs were each able to enhance the ecdysteroid response in both the reporter gene and the cell proliferation assays only when given in conjunction with ecdysteroids. Aroclor 1254 had no effect in either system, either alone or in conjunction with ecdysteroids. These studies show that although the PAHs alone do not activate ecdysteroid-dependent gene expression or cell differentiation, they are able to enhance the effect of ecdysteroids, presumably through a non-receptor-mediated process. This mechanism may explain the effects on molting which have been reported after low-level crude oil exposures in crustaceans.
    Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 11/1999; 160(1):101-8. DOI:10.1006/taap.1999.8745 · 3.71 Impact Factor
  • Deborah M Cottam · Martin J Milner ·
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    ABSTRACT: The Drosophila wing imaginal disc cell line Cl 8+ was used to investigate the interaction between juvenile hormone III (JH) and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20HE). Cell cultures were exposed to either or both hormones at a range of concentrations and cell growth was observed. JH was found to ameliorate the effects of 20HE on cell growth, even when added after the cells had been exposed to 20HE for 4 or 24h.
    Journal of Insect Physiology 01/1999; 44(12):1137-44. DOI:10.1016/S0022-1910(98)00073-0 · 2.47 Impact Factor
  • D M Cottam · M J Milner ·
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    ABSTRACT: Insect cell lines in culture are used for a variety of studies. In this laboratory imaginal disc cell lines have been established from primary cultures from third instar larvae, and used for a number of experiments. The effect of ageing on the morphology and physiology of Drosophila cell lines has received very little attention, although problems of genotypic or phenotypic changes in cell lines with age are recognized in other areas of animal cell culture. We tested our cell line Cl8+ for any difference in growth, morphology and response to 20-hydroxyecdysone (20HE) at different ages (passage numbers). The cells were found to multiply faster, adhere less firmly to the substrate and to lose the tendency to aggregate at higher passages. The response to 20HE in terms of cell numbers and induction of beta-galactosidase was similar at all passage numbers but morphological changes in hormone-treated cells were less obvious in the higher passages. Cell lines are likely to vary in the extent of ageing effects but workers are advised to be aware of the possibilities. We suggest the effects of age on cell lines should be established, and passage numbers noted in experimental reports.
    Tissue and Cell 01/1998; 29(6):727-32. DOI:10.1016/S0040-8166(97)80048-1 · 1.25 Impact Factor
  • D M Cottam · M J Milner ·
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    ABSTRACT: Two Drosophila imaginal disc cell lines, C18+ (sensitive to 20-hydroxyecdysone, 20HE) and C18R (resistant to 20HE) were exposed to the ecdysteroid agonists RH5849 and RH5992 and the ecdysteroids inokosterone, makisterone A and muristerone A. All compounds tested were found to have similar effects on the cells, comparable to the effects of 20HE, although at different concentrations. C18R showed resistance to all compounds, again at varying concentrations. We conclude that it is likely that all the compounds tested use the same receptors as 20HE, but show maximum effectiveness at different concentrations.
    Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 08/1997; 53(7):600-3. DOI:10.1007/s000180050078 · 5.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

153 Citations
31.94 Total Impact Points


  • 1997-2006
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Biology
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2002
    • University of Leeds
      • Faculty of Biological Sciences
      Leeds, England, United Kingdom