Göttinger Graduiertenschule für Neurowissenschaften, Biophysik und Molekulare Biowissenschaften

Shcherbata, Halyna, PD Dr. - Gene expression and signaling (MPI-bpc)

Independent Max Planck Research Group Leader

  • 1996 Ph.D., Genetics, Kyiv Institute for Plant Physiology and Genetics, Ukraine
  • 1996-2003 Scientific Researcher, then Assistant Professor, Lemberg (Lviv) National University, Ukraine
  • 2003–2008 Postdoc, then Research Professor, Biochemistry Department, Institute for Stem cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 2008-present Max Planck Research Group Leader, MPI for biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany
  • 2012 Habilitation in Developmental Biology, Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany

Major Research Interests

My lab is focused on understanding of biological roles of miRNAs in cell differentiation and maintenance under normal, stress, and disease conditions in Drosophila. We show that the miRNAs-based regulatory network is accomplished via feedback-feedforward signaling, which allows to reduce transcriptional noise and fine-tune gene expression to regulate the entire gene expression profile. In addition, tissue-specific miRNAs direct differentiation toward corresponding lineages by suppressing alternative cell fates and ensuring the robustness of cell identity. Under stress and in chronic pathological states, miRNA levels are misregulated which disrupts tissue regeneration and homeostasis due to miRNA influence on cell proliferation and differentiation programs. We found that miRNAs act as spatio-temporal cell fate determinants, differentiation guardians and canalization factors, and stress response elements.We use Drosophila as a model organism that can serve as a valuable model system for conserved mechanisms underlying human disorders. One of our scientific interests is the analysis of the Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex (DGC), perturbation in which results in muscular dystrophies and brain abnormalities in humans. We found that stress induces muscle degeneration even in wild type animals and accelerates age-dependent muscular dystrophy. In view of the facts that miRNAs have been implicated in stress response and the DGC has an effect on miRNA expression in vertebrates, we have conducted a miRNA microarray screen in stressed and not stressed wild type and dystrophic animals. The second line of the research that is actively conducted in my lab is focused on studying the role of the microRNA pathway in stem cells, where the Drosophila germline and neuronal stem cells are used as model systems. Our findings show that hormonal signaling and miRNAs direct neuronal and germline stem cell differentiation. Not only do steroid hormones control the miRNA expression, miRNAs also act in feedback loops to regulate the strength of the hormonal signaling. This provides the means to fine-tune the signals managing stem cell division, maintenance, and differentiation in response to ever-changing extracellular conditions.

Homepage Department/Research Group:


Selected Recent Publications

  • Kucherenko MM, Shcherbata HR (2013) Steroids as external temporal codes act via miRNAs and cooperate with cytokines in differential neurogenesis. Fly (Austin) 7, 3
  • Marrone AK, Edeleva EV, Kucherenko MM, Hsiao NH, Shcherbata HR (2012) Dg-Dys-Syn1 signaling in Drosophila regulates the microRNA profile. BMC Cell Biol 13, 26
  • Kucherenko MM, Barth J, Fiala A, Shcherbata HR (2012) Steroid-induced microRNA let-7 acts as a spatio-temporal code for neuronal cell fate in the developing Drosophila brain. EMBO J 31(24), 4511-23
  • König A, Yatsenko AS, Weiss M, Shcherbata HR (2011) Ecdysteroids affect Drosophila ovarian stem cell niche formation and early germline differentiation. EMBO J 30, 1549-1562
  • Kucherenko MM, Marrone AK, Rishko VM, Magliarelli H, Shcherbata HR (2011) Stress and muscular dystrophy: a genetic screen for dystroglycan and dystrophin interactors in Drosophila identifies cellular stress response components. Dev Biol 352, 228-242
  • Marrone AK, Kucherenko MM, Rishko VM, Shcherbata HR (2011) New dystrophin/dystroglycan interactors control neuron behavior in Drosophila eye. BMC Neurosci 12, 93
  • Marrone AK, Kucherenko MM, Rishko VM, Shcherbata HR (2011) New Dystrophin/Dystroglycan interactors control neuron behavior in Drosophila eye. BMC Neurosci 12, 9
  • Marrone AK, Shcherbata HR (2011) Dystrophin orchestrates the epigenetic profile of muscle cells via miRNAs. Front Genet 2, 64
  • Marrone AK, Kucherenko MM, Wiek R, Göpfert MC, Shcherbata HR (2011) Hyperthermic seizures and aberrant cellular homeostasis in Drosophila dystrophic muscles. Sci Rep 1
  • Marrone AK, Shcherbata HR (2011) Dystrophin orchestrates the epigenetic profile of muscle cells via miRNAs. Frontiers in Genetics 2