Developmental Biology Research Group

The developmental biology research group was founded in 2009 at the Department of Genetics of the Biology Insitute of the University of Szeged. The scientific goal of our research group is to gain a better understanding of general cell-biological processes during the formation of gametes, through the examination of specialized cellular organelles of the spermatids. In our laboratory, we use one of the most established model organisms, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), in which a wide range of classic genetic and molecular biology tools can be used to answer scientific questions. Our research group investigate the cellular changes that take place in the developing spermatids. Since the structure of spermatozoa shows a high degree of conservation in the living world, their development is similar in many points to the case of different groups of animals, therefore our results also could contribute to a better understanding of human spermatogenesis.

Our research interest:

Drosophila ivarsejtfejlődés lépései

Gene expression studies

Among animals, it is typical that most genes are expressed in the testis. A large number of testis-specific genes also identified. The number of these varies from species to species, but thousands of these genes are also present in the genome of the fruit fly. Some of them were created by gene duplication. The testis-specific gene expression of the resulting genes enables one of these duplicates to acquire a new function or to specialize in the given organ. Testis-specific gene products are essential for sperm formation. Despite this, the regulation of gene expression in the testis and the appearance of protein products during spermatogenesis are not yet fully understood.
Analysis of Drosophila melanogaster testis transcriptome

Microtubule organizing centers

The cytoskeletal elements also have numerous testis-specific paralogs. This is not surprising since the sperm of the fruit fly reaches 1.8mm in length, this transition from round cells requires multiple reorganizations of cellular structures, where cytoskeletal elements play acrutial role. The elements of the gamma-tubulin ring complex (γ-TURC) also have testis-specific paralogs. These genes are required for proper spermatid development and proper basal body formation. The members of the γ-TURC also show mitochondrial association in elongated spermatids, where they might contribute to an alternative microtubule organising centre. Our group aims to clarify the role of the testis-specific γ-TURC members in the basal body and mitochondrial surface.
Microtubule Organizing Centers Contain Testis-Specific γ-TuRC Proteins in Spermatids of Drosophila

Muslica genetikai vizsgálatok
Muslica tesztisz mitokondrium

Mitochondria and metabolism

The mitochondrion is one of the most complex cell organelle; it is a double membrane bound structure with its own DNA, it gives place to oxidative phosphorilation. The energy producing function of mitochondria is widely known, however there are many other function is associated to the mitochondria, for example it gives structural support for the very long Drosophila sperms. During the differentiation of spermatids, the mitochondria fuse and form two mitochondrial derivatives, which run along the tail part of the sperm. There are many testis-specific mitochondrial genes as well, our group is focusing on genes related to the central metabolic pathways.
Testis-Specific Bb8 Is Essential in the Development of Spermatid Mitochondria

Sperm-Leucylaminopeptidases are required for male fertility as structural components of mitochondrial paracrystalline material in Drosophila melanogaster sperm

For Students

The topics mentioned above can be used as guidelines for our group's current work. Depending on the topic we use various tools from classical genetics to advanced molecular biological methods and fluorescent microscopy.


Alzyoud, E., Vedelek, V., Réthi-Nagy, Z., Lipinszki, Z., & Sinka, R. (2021). Microtubule Organizing Centers Contain Testis-Specific γ-TuRC Proteins in Spermatids of Drosophila. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. Read it

Deák, P., Omar, M. M., Saunders, R. D., Pál, M., Komonyi, O., Szidonya, J., Maróy, P., Zhang, Y., Ashburner, M., Benos, P., Savakis, C., Siden-Kiamos, I., Louis, C., Bolshakov, V. N., Kafatos, F. C., Madueno, E., Modolell, J., & Glover, D. M. (1997). P-element insertion alleles of essential genes on the third chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster: correlation of physical and cytogenetic maps in chromosomal region 86E-87F. Genetics, 147(4), 1697–1722.

Fári, K., Takács, S., Ungár, D., & Sinka, R. (2016). The role of acroblast formation during Drosophila spermatogenesis. Biology Open, 5(8), 1102–1110. Read it

Kelemen-Valkony, I., Kiss, M., Csiha, J., Kiss, A., Bircher, U., Szidonya, J., Maróy, P., Juhász, G., Komonyi, O., Csiszár, K., & Mink, M. (2012). Drosophila basement membrane collagen col4a1 mutations cause severe myopathy. Matrix Biology, 31(1), 29–37. Read it

Kiss, I., Bencze, G., Fekete, E., Fodor, A., Gausz, J., Maróy, P., Szabad, J., & Szidonya, J. (1976). Isolation and characterization of X-linked lethal mutants affecting differentiation of the imaginal discs in Drosophila melanogaster. TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische Und Angewandte Genetik, 48(5), 217–226. Read it

Komonyi, O., Mink, M., Csiha, J., & Maróy, P. (1998). Genomic organization of DHR38 gene in Drosophila: presence of Alu-like repeat in a translated exon and expression during embryonic development. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, 38(4), 185–192. Read it

Kovács, L., Nagy, O., Pál, M., Udvardy, A., Popescu, O., & Deák, P. (2015). Role of the deubiquitylating enzyme DmUsp5 in coupling ubiquitin equilibrium to development and apoptosis in Drosophila melanogaster. PloS One, 10(3), e0120875. Read it

Laurinyecz, B., Péter, M., Vedelek, V., Kovács, A. L. A. L., Juhász, G., Maróy, P., Vígh, L., Balogh, G., & Sinka, R. (2016). Reduced expression of CDP-DAG synthase changes lipid composition and leads to male sterility in Drosophila. Open Biology, 6(1). Read it

Laurinyecz, B., Vedlek, V., Kovács, L. A., Szilasi, K., Lipinszki, Z., Slezák, C., Darula, Z., Juhász, G., Sinka, R., Vedelek, V., Kovács, A. L., Szilasi, K., Lipinszki, Z., Slezák, C., Darula, Z., Juhász, G., & Sinka, R. (2019). Sperm-Leucylaminopeptidases are required for male fertility as structural components of mitochondrial paracrystalline material in Drosophila melanogaster sperm. PLoS Genetics, 15(2), 1–24. Read it

Maroy, P., Dennis, R., Beckers, C., Sage, B. A., & O’Connor, J. D. (1978). Demonstration of an ecdysteroid receptor in a cultured cell line of Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 75(12), 6035–6038. Read it

Nagy, Á., Kovács, L., Lipinszki, Z., Pál, M., & Deák, P. (2018). Developmental and tissue specific changes of ubiquitin forms in Drosophila melanogaster. PloS One, 13(12), e0209080. Read it

Ryder, E., Blows, F., Ashburner, M., Bautista-Llacer, R., Coulson, D., Drummond, J., Webster, J., Gubb, D., Gunton, N., Johnson, G., O’Kane, C. J., Huen, D., Sharma, P., Asztalos, Z., Baisch, H., Schulze, J., Kube, M., Kittlaus, K., Reuter, G., … Russell, S. (2004). The DrosDel collection: A set of P-element insertions for generating custom chromosomal aberrations in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics, 167(2), 797–813. Read it

Salzberg, A., Prokopenko, S. N., He, Y., Tsai, P., Pál, M., Maróy, P., Glover, D. M., Deák, P., & Bellen, H. J. (1997). P-element insertion alleles of essential genes on the third chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster: mutations affecting embryonic PNS development. Genetics, 147(4), 1723–1741. Read it

Szabad, J., Erdélyi, M., Hoffmann, G., Szidonya, J., & Wright, T. R. (1989). Isolation and characterization of dominant female sterile mutations of Drosophila melanogaster. II. Mutations on the second chromosome. Genetics, 122(4), 823–835. Read it

Szabad, J., Schüpbach, T., & Wieschaus, E. (1979). Cell lineage and development in the larval epidermis of Drosophila melanogaster. Developmental Biology, 73(2), 256–271. Read it

Szabad, J., & Szidonya, J. (1980). Developmental analysis of fs(1)1867, an egg resorption mutation of Drosophila melanogaster. Basic Life Sciences, 16, 95–108. Read it

Vedelek, V., Bodai, L., Grézal, G., Kovács, B., Boros, I. M., Laurinyecz, B., & Sinka, R. (2018). Analysis of Drosophila melanogaster testis transcriptome 06 Biological Sciences 0604 Genetics. BMC Genomics, 19(1), 1–19. Read it

Vedelek, V., Kovács, A. L., Juhász, G., Alzyoud, E., & Sinka, R. (2021). The tumor suppressor archipelago E3 ligase is required for spermatid differentiation in Drosophila testis. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 8422. Read it

Vedelek, V., Laurinyecz, B., Kovács, A. L., Juhász, G., & Sinka, R. (2016). Testis-specific Bb8 is essential in the development of spermatid mitochondria. PLoS ONE, 11(8), 1–17. Read it

Group members:

Dr. Sinka Rita

Dr. Rita Sinka

associate professor, PI

54-4268 or 54-4025

MTMT: 10011011   MTMT data sheet

Dr. Vedelek Viktor

Dr. Viktor Vedelek

research fellow


MTMT: 10030587   MTMT data sheet

Elham Alzyoud

Dr. Elham Alzyoud

research fellow


MTMT: 10084128   MTMT data sheet

Németh Dóra

Dóra Németh

PhD Student


Török Anikó

Anikó Török

technical assistant