cellular pattern formation in the zebrafish retinaDate Added: 6/3/2005 12:36:00 PM
Last Updated: 5/12/2009 9:56:00 AM
Description of projects available to graduate students:
Multicellular organisms arrange cells in special patterns to form distinct structures through a set of developmental instructions that we do not fully understand. In my laboratory, we use the zebrafish retina as a model system to study the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular pattern formation in the vertebrate retina. The vertebrate retina develops from a single sheet of neuroepithelial cells, which later differentiate and reorganize into layered structures during retinal neurogenesis. Each retinal layer is composed of specific neuronal classes and executes distinct functions. The molecular mechanisms by which retinal cells organize into this layered structure are largely unknown. To understand how retinal cells organize, my lab uses a variety of experimental approaches that involve Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and Developmental Biology. Graduate students are welcome to participate in our research in the following areas.
1. Investigate the molecular mechanisms by which epithelial polarity of the retina is established and maintained during development. Our previous studies of molecular cloning and characterization of nok, pard3, and lin7 have demonstrated that retinal epithelial polarity plays an essential role in cellular pattern formation during retinal development. Each of these polarity genes has several protein-protein interaction domains, suggesting they form functional complexes with other proteins. The current emphasis in this research direction is to identify proteins that interact with Nok, Pard3, and Lin7 to further understand the functions of these genes at the molecular level. We will use yeast two-hybrid systems and affinity purification approaches to achieve this goal.
2. Identify cell surface molecules that are responsible for specific cell-cell adhesion. We hypothesize that cell surface molecules, especially those important for cell-cell adhesion are important for stabilizing the laminar structure of the retina.
3. Analyze the functions of polarity protiens in neurulation.
Techniques graduate student will learn:
Recombinant DNA, PCR, Western Blot analysis, yeast two-hybrid screen, affinity purification
Plastic tissue embedding and sectioning, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy
Generation of transgenic fish lines, fish breeding, mutagenesis screening
Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology
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