Dr. Michael E. Zuber
Associate Profesor505 Irving Ave.
Room 4612 NRB
The eye begins as a patch of ectodermal cells that are first patterned to form the beginnings of the anterior brain. These cells are further specified to become the retinal stem cells of the embryonic eye field. We have been investigating the genes responsible for retinal stem cell formation. We discovered that seven eye field transcription factors (EFTFs) are coordinately expressed in the anterior neural plate during retinal stem cell specification. Since each of these genes are required for normal eye formation, we reasoned that they might act together to specify retinal stem cells. To test this hypothesis, we coexpressed all seven genes at ectopic locations in the developing frog embryo. Remarkably, these genes were able to induce a third eye, demonstrating that they are not only expressed during, but also sufficient for eye formation. Is every one of the eye field transcription factors required to generate the third eye? How do these genes interact to generate an eye? What are the downstream targets of these transcription factors? What upstream regulators coordinate the expression of these genes during eye formation? These are just a few of the questions we intend to answer in this project.
Lab MembershipsZuber Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)