centrosome MTOCs.png

Lerit Lab

Developmental Cell Biology Research Group

The vast microtubule array within an early  Drosophila  embryo.



Centrosomes are the microtubule organizing centers of most eukaryotic cells tasked with building the bipolar mitotic spindle that segregates the duplicated genome into two daughter cells during cell division. As such, centrosomes are integral to maintaining genome stability. Centrosomes orchestrate numerous critical tasks beyond cell division: cell polarization and migration, intracellular trafficking, and ciliogenesis.

Given these critical roles, centrosome dysfunction is the leading cause of microcephaly and is also associated with sterility, ciliopathy, poor cancer prognosis, and other disorders.

Cell cycle-dependent oscillations in composition and organization contribute to the multifunctional nature of centrosomes. We study how these dynamic changes instruct centrosome activity and function. Our goal is to elucidate mechanisms of centrosome regulation in the context of normal development and how these regulatory paradigms go awry in models of human disease or developmental disorders.


LeritLab Spring 2019.jpg

We are an interdisciplinary research group in the Department of Cell Biology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Neural Stem Cells.png



Click here for PubMed

Benner, L., Castro, E.A., Whitworth, C., Venken, K.J.T., Yang, H., Fang, J., Oliver, B.#, Cook, K.R., and Lerit, D.A.# (2019) Drosophila heterochromatin stabilization requires the zinc-finger protein Small Ovary. Genetics. (in press) # corresponding authors

Ryder, P.V. and Lerit, D.A. (2018) RNA localization regulates diverse and dynamic cellular responses. Traffic. 19(7):496-502.
>Cover feature

Lerit, D.A.*#, Shebelut, C.W., Lawlor, K., Rusan, N.M., Gavis, E.R., Schedl, P., and Deshpande, G.*# (2017). Germ cell-less promotes centrosome segregation to induce germ cell formation. Cell Reports. 18(4): 831-839. * equal contributors, # corresponding authors
>Cover feature

Lerit, D.A.*# and Poulton, J.S.*# (2016). Regulation of proper centriole number is critical for genomic stability. Chromosome Research. 24: 5-17. * equal contributors, # corresponding authors

Lerit, D.A., Jordan, H.A., Poulton, J.S., Fagerstrom, C.J., Galletta, B.J., Peifer, M., and Rusan, N.M. (2015) Interphase centrosome organization by the PLP-Cnn scaffold is required for centrosome function. Journal of Cell Biology. 210(1): 79-97.
>Featured in JCB Biosights Video.
>Featured as a JCB Journal Club

Galletta, B.J.*, Guillen, R.X.*, Fagerstrom, C.J., Brownlee, C.W., Lerit, D.A., Megraw, T., Rogers, G.C., and Rusan, N.M. (2014). Drosophila Pericentrin requires Calmodulin for its function in vivo. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 25(18): 2682-2694 * equal contributors

Lerit, D.A., Plevock, K.M., and Rusan. N.M. (2014). Live imaging of Drosophila larval neuroblasts. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (89), e51756.

Lerit, D.A. and Rusan, N.M. (2013). PLP inhibits the activity of interphase centrosomes to ensure their proper segregation in stem cells. Journal of Cell Biology. 202(7):1013-1022.
>Featured in JCB In Focus.

Lerit, D.A., Smyth, J.T., and Rusan, N.M. (2013). Organelle asymmetry for proper fitness, function and fate. Chromosome Research. 21(3): 271-86.

Gopalakrishnan, J., Chim, Y.-C.F.*, Ha, A.*, Basiri, M.L.*, Lerit, D.A., Rusan, N.M., and Avidor-Reiss, T. (2012). Tubulin nucleotide status controls Sas-4-dependent pericentriolar material recruitment. Nature Cell Biology. 14(8): 865-873. * equal contributors

Lerit, D.A. and Gavis, E.R. (2011). Transport of germ plasm on astral microtubules directs germ cell development in Drosophila. Current Biology. 21(6): 439-448.
>Recommended by F1000

Becalska, A.N.*, Kim, Y.R.*, Belletier, N.G., Lerit, D.A., Sinsimer, K.S., and Gavis, E.R.  (2010).  Aubergine is a component of a nanos mRNA localization complex. Developmental Biology. 349(1): 46-52. * equal contributors

Korpal, M., Yan, J., Lu, X., Xu, S., Lerit, D.A., and Kang, Y. (2009). Imaging transforming growth factor-b signaling dynamics and therapeutic response in breast cancer bone metastasis. Nature Medicine. 15(8): 960-966.



Lerit Lab
Department of Cell Biology
Emory University School of Medicine
615 Michael St. | Room 435 Whitehead Building
Atlanta, GA 30033

(404) 727 3758