Research AreaOur research is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms that control vertebrate neurogenesis. We use the frogs Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis as model systems and a combination of molecular, cellular and embryological techniques. During embryonic development a number of neural progenitor cells exit the cell cycle and differentiate into neurons and glia while others remain undifferentiated for longer periods of time. We have uncovered several mechanisms that are important for maintaining proliferating undifferentiated neural progenitors or stem cells. The focus of our current research is on the role of protein modifications that integrate signalling pathways with the activity of neural transcription factors, and on the role of asymmetric cell divisions in controlling the ability of neural cells to differentiate. In parallel, we are using Xenopus microarrays in order to decipher the gene networks controlling neuronal differentiation. Our main experimental methodology includes in vitro transcription, RNA/DNA microinjection into Xenopus embryos, lineage tracing and analysis of gene expression and embryonic development with a variety of methods. The classes of molecules that we are currently working on, are transcription factors of the winged helix and helix-loop-helix classes, intracellular kinases, receptor tyrosine kinases and cytoskeletal proteins.
Current MembersPapalopulu, Nancy (Principal Investigator/Director) Contact
Thuret, Raphael (Post-doc)
ContactInstitution: University of Manchester Address:
Faculty of Life Sciences
Michael Smith Building
University of Manchester
M13 9PT, United Kingdom