PositionProfessor in Developmental Biology
We are interested in how the embryo of the frog Xenopus laevis develops from a fertilized egg into a swimming tadpole. Xenopus embryos have many advantages as a model for studying cell signalling during development: Large numbers of synchronously developing embryos are easily obtained and their large size and ease of culture means that they are amenable to micromanipulation and single cell injection. Workable transgenic protocols have been developed and there has been some success in inhibiting gene function with antisense technologies. As a consequence, studies on Xenopus embryos have made many important contributions to our understanding of vertebrate development. Much of our research has involved studies on the roles of Tolloid metalloproteases in Xenopus development and especialy their role in regulating BMP signalling. They achieve this by cleaving the BMP inhibitory binding protein Chordin, releasing fragments with reduced affinity for BMPs. As a consequence they increase BMP signalling activity. In addition, we have studied a number of GPCRs that are expressed in Xenopus gastrulae, concentrating on receptors belonging to the P2Y subclass. One of these, P2Y5, is a receptor for the bioactive lipid LPA and we have compelling evidence that it is required for forebrain development. Finally, we have been studying Xenopus members of the ADP-ribosyl cyclase family and have evidence that one of these, CD38, is required for muscle differentiation.
Lab MembershipsDale Laboratory (Principal Investigator/Director)
British Xenopus Group (Other)