Uri Frank

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The fragile X mental retardation syndrome in humans is caused by a mutational loss of function of the fragile X mental retardation gene 1 (FMR1). FMR1 is an RNA-binding protein, involved in the development and function of the nervous system. Despite of its medical significance, the evolutionary origin of FMR1 has been unclear. Here, we report the molecular(More)
Chitinases are enzymes that degrade chitin, the second most abundant polymer in nature. They are ubiquitous among living organisms where they play a role in development, food-digestion and innate immunity. We have cloned and characterized the first cnidarian chitinase cDNA from the hydroid Hydractinia. The Hydractinia chitinase exhibits a typical secreted(More)
Astacin-like metalloproteases are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom but their phylogenetic relationships and ancient functions within the Metazoa are unclear. We have cloned and characterized four astacin-like cDNAs from the marine hydroid Hydractinia echinata and performed a database search for related genes in the draft genome sequence of the sea anemone(More)
Tachylectin-related proteins are a recently characterized group of pattern recognition molecules, functioning in the innate immunity of various animals, from the ancient sponges to vertebrates. Tachylectins are characterized by six internal tandem repeats forming beta-propeller domains. We have identified and characterized a tachylectin-related gene in the(More)
An increasing amount of expressed sequence tag (EST) and genomic data, predominantly for the cnidarians Acropora, Hydra and Nematostella, reveals that cnidarians have a high genomic complexity, despite being one of the morphologically simplest multicellular animals. Considering the diversity of cnidarians, we performed an EST project on the hydroid(More)
Cnidarians possess remarkable powers of regeneration, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this capability are unclear. Studying the hydrozoan Hydractinia echinata we show that a burst of stem cell proliferation occurs following decapitation, forming a blastema at the oral pole within 24 hr. This process is necessary for head regeneration.(More)
BACKGROUND COUP transcription factors are required for the regulation of gene expression underlying development, differentiation, and homeostasis. They have an evolutionarily conserved function, being a known marker for neurogenesis from cnidarians to vertebrates. A homologue of this gene was shown previously to be a neuronal and nematocyte differentiation(More)
Cnidarians are a group of early branching animals including corals, jellyfish and hydroids that are renowned for their high regenerative ability, growth plasticity and longevity. Because cnidarian genomes are conventional in terms of protein-coding genes, their remarkable features are likely a consequence of epigenetic regulation. To facilitate epigenetics(More)
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