Uri Frank

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In Hydractinia, a colonial marine hydroid representing the basal phylum Cnidaria, Wnt signaling plays a major role in the specification of the primary body axis in embryogenesis and in the establishment of the oral pole during metamorphosis. Here we report supplementing investigations on head regeneration and bud formation in post-metamorphic development.(More)
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)
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)
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)
Nanos is a pan-metazoan germline marker, important for germ cell development and maintenance. In flies, Nanos also acts in posterior and neural development, but these functions have not been demonstrated experimentally in other animals. Using the cnidarian Hydractinia we have uncovered novel roles for Nanos in neural cell fate determination. Ectopic(More)
Both Wnt signaling and heat shock proteins play important roles in development and disease. As such, they have been widely, though separately, studied. Here we show a link between a heat shock protein and Wnt signaling in a member of the basal phylum, Cnidaria. A heat shock at late gastrulation in the clonal marine hydrozoan, Hydractinia, interferes with(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)