Ann C. Foley
Assistant ProfessorWeill Cornell Medical College
520 East 70th Street
New York, NY
We use Xenopus embryos as a model system to study the earliest steps of heart formation. We have identified two independent pathways whose activities converge in the endoderm and elicit the expression of an, as yet, unidentified endodermal factor(s) that induces the formation of cardiac tissue in the neighboring mesoderm. One of these pathways is mediated by factors such as Dkk1 that antagonize the canonical Wnt/βCat signaling pathway and acts by inducing expression of the transcription factor Hex in the endoderm. The other pathway is mediated by the TGFβ family member, XNr1 and acts by inducing expression of Cerberus in the endoderm Our current research interests focus on two major issues. First, we are using high throughput techniques and a candidate gene approach to identify the transcriptional targets of Hex and thus candidates for the heart-inducing endodermal activity. We will then use a variety of embryological and molecular techniques to address their roles in specification of the cardiac mesoderm. Second, we want to identify the other pathways that are activated by Dkk1 and Nr1 and determine how they interact both to establish the heart field and support its subsequent differentiation.
Lab MembershipsFoley Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)