lab is interested in understanding how naïve progenitor cells
segregate to give rise to diverse cell types that eventually form an
organ. The question of organ formation is even more profound and
challenging when applied to a vertebrate nervous system, where hundreds
of cell types exist. We address this question in the context of cranial
placodes, placode-derived sensory ganglia, and zebrafish lateral line
system. Development of placode-derived sensory
components of the peripheral nervous system are essential for
the formation of cranial sensory systems such as somatosensation and
taste. The improper development of the cranial sensory system has been implicated in many human disorders, including chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, migraines, bladder overactivity,
erectile dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmia, and others. Thus,
uncovering genes that specify cranial placodes and ganglia should
provide better understanding for the mechanisms underlying these processes.
The mechanosensory lateral line system of aquatic vertebrates is used to detect displacement of water and controls various types of swimming behavior. The lateral line provides an excellent system for
studying basic biological processes, such as collective cell migration, (see lateral line primordium migration movie)
and specification, organ morphogenesis and patterning in the
genetically-tractable model system such as zebrafish.
We have developed zebrafish as a model system for studying axonal transport (see our recent publication). Within individual neurons, various types of cargo must be actively transported to specific compartments. For example, in the axon, synaptic proteins are targeted to axon terminals, while growth factors are often transported back to the cell body. This is accomplished primarily by microtubule-based transport mediated by two types of molecular motors, kinesins and dyneins, that respectively move cargo away from and towards the cell body. Various types of vesicles and organelles are moved by fast transport both in anterograde and retrograde directions at speeds of 0.5-10 μm/sec. (read more).
emerged as a
powerful model system for understanding vertebrate development. In
addition to experimental embryology, zebrafish is one of the few
vertebrate model systems that are easily amenable to classical genetic
approaches. Advantages of zebrafish include:
We use many of these
advantages as well as lineage analyses, cell ablation, and cell
transplantation to study development of the cranial placodes
and ganglia , the lateral line system, and axonal transport in zebrafish.
short generation times
- embryo transparency
development allowing easy
including transgenesis and mutagenesis,
genome nearing completion.