Harry V. Isaacs
The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family of small peptide signalling molecules have numerous important roles in the development of the vertebrate embryo, including the induction and patterning of the three primary germ layers. FGFs are also required for the homeostasis of the adult organism and their mis-regulation is involved in a number of human disease conditions, including skeletal abnormalities and cancer. We use Xenopus frogs to investigate FGF function. A major focus of the lab has been to identify the transcriptional effectors of the FGF pathway involved in mediating the biological effects of FGFs during animal development. In a large scale transcriptomic screen we identified the Lin28 gene, which codes for an RNA binding protein, as a putative target of the FGF signalling pathway. Recently there has been considerable interest in Lin28 as a regulator of the pluripotent state of embryonic stem cells. We are currently investigating the role of Lin28 family genes in early development using the advantages of amphibian embryos for rapid knock-down and over-expression of gene products. Lin28 proteins have been shown to regulate the biogenesis of a subset of regulatory miRNAs. We are currently investigating the role of Lin28 and FGF signalling in the regulation of miRNA populations during early animal development. In addition, we have ongoing collaborations with the Coles and Genever Labs at the University of York aimed and determining whether FGF/Lin28 regulatory pathways are conserved in human pluripotent stem cells in culture. We also have a long term interest in the role of the Cdx and Gsx homeodomain transcription factors in patterning the developing vertebrate nervous system.
Lab MembershipsIsaacs Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)
British Xenopus Group (Other)