Daniel P. Kiehart

Professor of Biology

4330 French Family Science Center, Science Drive, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0338
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Dept. Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-1000
(919) 613-8157
Our intellectual focus is on identifying determinants of cell shape that function during development. Utilizing molecular genetic and reverse genetic approaches in Drosophila, we have shown that conventional nonmuscle myosin is necessary for driving both cell division and post-mitotic cell shape changes for morphogenesis, and cellular locomotions. Currently, we are investigating how myosin elicits cell shape change and how its function is regulated through filament formation, phosphorylation, sub-cellular targeting and small GTP-binding protein function. We are characterizing myosin light chain kinase; a novel myosin VII heavy chain; and additional elements that participate in localizing myosin and transmitting the forces that it produces. We used screens for aberrant cell shape induced in the yeast S. pombe by expression of transfected Drosophila cDNAs. These experiments show that elements that define cell shape are conserved throughout phylogeny and that a screen in yeast is a valuable tool for recovering heterologous cDNAs that encode cytoskeletal elements and the proteins that regulate them. In fly, we are identifying gene products that are necessary for myosin function by genetically recovering second site non-complementing loci and biochemically recovering proteins that bind to myosin. To date, our experiments identify ~30 loci that genetically interact with myosin and a kinase activity that phosphorylates myosin heavy chain and establish genetically, that the Rho signalling pathway is required in concert with nonmuscle myosin II for morphogenesis. We are also using manipulation studies to understand the forces that drive cellularization and morphogenesis. We show that both the amnioserosa and the leading edge of the lateral epidermis contribute to the movements of dorsal closure. Finally, we are examining the role these proteins play in movements that occur during wound healing.


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania 1979

  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania 1973

Hutson, MS, Tokutake, Y, Chang, M-S, Bloor, JW, Venakides, S, Kiehart, DP, and Edwards, GS. "Forces for morphogenesis investigated with laser microsurgery and quantitative modeling." Science (New York, N.Y.) 300, no. 5616 (April 2003): 145-149. Full Text

Edwards, GS, Austin, RH, Carroll, FE, Copeland, ML, Couprie, ME, Gabella, WE, Haglund, RF, Hooper, BA, Hutson, MS, Jansen, ED, Joos, KM, Kiehart, DP, Lindau, I, Miao, J, Pratisto, HS, Shen, JH, Tokutake, Y, van Der Meer, L, and Xie, A. "FEL-based biophysical and biomedical instrumentation." Invited paper, Review of Scientific Instruments 74, no. 7 (2003): 3207-3245. (Academic Article)

Dutta, D, Bloor, JW, Ruiz-Gomez, M, VijayRaghavan, K, and Kiehart, DP. "Real-time imaging of morphogenetic movements in Drosophila using Gal4-UAS-driven expression of GFP fused to the actin-binding domain of moesin." Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000) 34, no. 1-2 (September 2002): 146-151. Full Text

Kiehart, DP, and Franke, JD. "Actin dynamics: the arp2/3 complex branches out." Curr Biol 12, no. 16 (August 20, 2002): R557-R559.

Bloor, JW, and Kiehart, DP. "Drosophila RhoA regulates the cytoskeleton and cell-cell adhesion in the developing epidermis." Development 129, no. 13 (July 2002): 3173-3183.

Ohashi, T, Kiehart, DP, and Erickson, HP. "Dual labeling of the fibronectin matrix and actin cytoskeleton with green fluorescent protein variants." J Cell Sci 115, no. Pt 6 (March 15, 2002): 1221-1229.

Ohashi, T, Kiehart, DP, and Erickson, HP. "Dual labeling of the fibronectin matrix and actin cytoskeleton with green fluorescent protein variants." Journal of Cell Science 115, no. 6 (2002): 1221-1229.

Crawford, JM, Su, Z, Varlamova, O, Bresnick, AR, and Kiehart, DP. "Role of myosin-II phosphorylation in V12Cdc42-mediated disruption of Drosophila cellularization." Eur J Cell Biol 80, no. 3 (March 2001): 240-244. Full Text