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Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase protein localized to regions called focal adhesions, which are contact points between cells and the extracellular matrix. FAK protein acts as a scaffold to transfer adhesion-dependent and growth factor signals into the cell. Increased FAK expression is linked to aggressive metastatic and invasive(More)
In vertebrates, canonical Wnt signaling controls posterior neural cell lineage specification. Although Wnt signaling to the neural plate is sufficient for posterior identity, the source and timing of this activity remain uncertain. Furthermore, crucial molecular targets of this activity have not been defined. Here, we identify the endogenous Wnt activity(More)
The source of symmetry breaking in vertebrate oocytes is unknown. Animal-vegetal oocyte polarity is established by the Balbiani body (Bb), a conserved structure found in all animals examined that contains an aggregate of specific mRNAs, proteins, and organelles. The Bb specifies the oocyte vegetal pole, which is key to forming the embryonic body axes as(More)
During development, early inducing programs must later be counterbalanced for coordinated tissue maturation. In Xenopus laevis embryos, activation of the Meis3 transcription factor by a mesodermal Wnt3a signal lies at the core of the hindbrain developmental program. We now identify a hindbrain restricting circuit, surprisingly comprising the hindbrain(More)
In Xenopus embryos, XMeis3 protein activity is required for normal hindbrain formation. Our results show that XMeis3 protein knock down also causes a loss of primary neuron and neural crest cell lineages, without altering expression of Zic, Sox or Pax3 genes. Knock down or inhibition of the Pax3, Zic1 or Zic5 protein activities extinguishes embryonic(More)
While the differentiation of oocytes is key for embryonic development, and its investigation is crucial for advancing our understanding of human reproduction and fertility, many fundamental questions in oogenesis have been long standing. However, recent technical advances have led to several breakthroughs mainly in mice and zebrafish. Here I review these(More)
Oocyte differentiation is a highly dynamic and intricate developmental process whose mechanistic understanding advances female reproduction, fertility, and ovarian cancer biology. Despite the many attributes of the zebrafish model, it has yet to be fully exploited for the investigation of early oocyte differentiation and ovarian development. This is partly(More)
A mechanistic dissection of early oocyte differentiation in vertebrates is key to advancing our knowledge of germline development, reproductive biology, the regulation of meiosis, and all of their associated disorders. Recent advances in the field include breakthroughs in the identification of germline stem cells in Medaka, in the cellular architecture of(More)
Cell polarity generates intracellular asymmetries and functional regionalization in tissues and morphogenetic processes. Cell polarity in development often relies on mechanisms of RNA localization to specific subcellular domains to define the identity of future developing tissues. The totipotent egg of most animals illustrates in a grand way the importance(More)
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