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Colloquium: Ryan Range, Mississippi State University | Biological Sciences

Thursday
Feb 23, 2017
4:10 PM - 5:00 PM

Iacocca Hall - B-023
111 Research Drive
Bethlehem PA 18015

Delia Chatlani
610-758-3681
dmc614@lehigh.edu

Dr. Ryan Range from Mississippi State University.

The emerging Wnt signaling network that governs anterior-posterior patterning in the sea urchin embryo.

Studies in several deuterostome developmental models, including the sea urchin, suggest that an early, broad regulatory state initiates specification of the anterior neuroectoderm (ANE). During early development, a posterior-to-anterior wave of inductive signaling progressively positions this broad ANE potential along the anterior-posterior (AP) axis to a territory around the anterior pole.  However, the molecular mechanisms used during ANE positioning are incompletely understood in any deuterostome embryo. Our recent results indicate that the ANE positioning mechanism in the sea urchin embryo involves integration of information from the Wnt/β-catenin, Wnt/JNK, and Wnt/PKC pathways. We have also found that secreted Wnt signaling modulators at the anterior pole act as a signaling center that is integrated into this Wnt network and establishes the ANE boundary and subsequently patterns the ANE territory. These studies provide the framework for our current focus on functional characterization of several transcription factors identified in whole-transcriptome differential screens whose expression is driven by the Fzl5/8 (Wnt/JNK) and Fzl1/2/7 (Wnt/PKC) signaling pathways, looking for functional interactions at the transcriptional level during ANE positioning. In addition, we are performing functional analyses on several potential extracellular and intracellular modulators of Wnt signaling in an effort to determine potential roles for these factors in the ANE positioning mechanism.  These are the first steps in an our strategy to use a combination of high throughput genome-wide assays, molecular manipulations, and gene regulatory network analysis to produce a systems-level model of how a Wnt network governs a fundamental deuterostome developmental process.

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