Institute of Molecular Biology

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Bruce A. Bowerman

Bruce A. Bowerman

Professor, Biology
Member, IMB

Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
B.A., Kansas State University

Lab website
Office: Lewis Integrated Science Building 314
Office Phone: 541-346-0853
Lab: Lewis Integrated Science Building 307
Lab Phone: 541-346-4551

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Research Interests

The Bowerman lab uses molecular genetics and live cell imaging to study cytoskeletal regulation and function in the early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. Beginning with the first mitotic division, the early embryo undergoes a sequence of five asymmetric cleavages. These early divisions are largely responsible for establishing the pattern of cell fates required for normal early embryonic development. These asymmetric cell divisions, with their highly stereotyped timing and mitotic spindle positioning, provide a rich context in which to use the powerful genetics of C. elegans to investigate cytoskeleton function during cell division and development.

Acotmyosin skeleton

The actomyosin cytoskeleton, including the non-muscle myosin II called NMY-2 (in red in the late anaphase mitotic one-cell stage embryo shown above) is localized predominantly to the cell cortex. The actomyosin cytoskeleton is important both for generating anterior-posterior polarity, and for cytokinesis. Microtubules (in green in the above figure; DNA is in blue) form both the meiotic and mitotic spindles, which capture and segregate chromosomes during cell division.

Current projects in lab focus on both oocyte meiotic spindle assembly, which occurs in the absence of the microtubule organizing centers called centrosomes, and mitotic spindle assembly, which is organized in large part by centrosomes. The movie below on the left shows Meiosis I and II in an oocyte after fertilization and during ovulation. A row of three oocytes are present on the left, with the spermathecum adjacent to the most mature oocyte, and mitotic embryos in the uterus are visible at the right. This movie was filmed using whole mount worms expressing a GFP fusion to tubulin to label microtubules in green, and an mCherry fusion to a histone to label chromosomes in red. The movie below on the right shows the first two rounds of mitotic division in an isolated early embryo (again with GFP labeling microtubules in green, and mCherry labeling histones in red).

Go to our lab website to see more information on our research and movies of wild-type and mutant early embryonic cell divisions.

Recent publications

(pulled from pubmed)

Recent publications

(pulled from pubmed)

Cell biology: scaling and the emergence of evolutionary cell biology.
Phillips PC, Bowerman B
Current biology : CB 2015
Caenorhabditis elegans oocyte meiotic spindle pole assembly requires microtubule severing and the calponin homology domain protein ASPM-1.
Connolly AA, Osterberg V, Christensen S, Price M, Lu C, Chicas-Cruz K, Lockery S, Mains PE, Bowerman B
Molecular biology of the cell 2014
Animal development: an ancient β-catenin switch?
Schneider SQ, Bowerman B
Current biology : CB 2013
CRL2(LRR-1) E3-ligase regulates proliferation and progression through meiosis in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline.
Burger J, Merlet J, Tavernier N, Richaudeau B, Arnold A, Ciosk R, Bowerman B, Pintard L
PLoS genetics 2013
An evolutionarily conserved innate immunity protein interaction network.
De Arras L, Seng A, Lackford B, Keikhaee MR, Bowerman B, Freedman JH, Schwartz DA, Alper S
The Journal of biological chemistry 2013
Development. Pushing your back into place.
Bowerman B, O'Rourke SM
Science (New York, N.Y.) 2012
Rapid mapping and identification of mutations in Caenorhabditis elegans by restriction site-associated DNA mapping and genomic interval pull-down sequencing.
O'Rourke SM, Yochem J, Connolly AA, Price MH, Carter L, Lowry JB, Turnbull DW, Kamps-Hughes N, Stiffler N, Miller MR, Johnson EA, Bowerman B
Genetics 2011
A survey of new temperature-sensitive, embryonic-lethal mutations in C. elegans: 24 alleles of thirteen genes.
O'Rourke SM, Carter C, Carter L, Christensen SN, Jones MP, Nash B, Price MH, Turnbull DW, Garner AR, Hamill DR, Osterberg VR, Lyczak R, Madison EE, Nguyen MH, Sandberg NA, Sedghi N, Willis JH, Yochem J, Johnson EA, Bowerman B
PloS one 2011
Caenorhabditis elegans EFA-6 limits microtubule growth at the cell cortex.
O'Rourke SM, Christensen SN, Bowerman B
Nature cell biology 2010
Cell polarity: keeping worms LeGaL.
Prehoda KE, Bowerman B
Current biology : CB 2010
Whole genome duplications and expansion of the vertebrate GATA transcription factor gene family.
Gillis WQ, St John J, Bowerman B, Schneider SQ
BMC evolutionary biology 2009