Our current laboratory research
Analysing gene function in development
In collaboration with Professor Darek Gorecki (Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences) we aim to study the role of a-dystrobrevin (a component of the DAP complex) in the development of Xenopus embryos combining standard embryological and novel micro-CT techniques to identify the tissue specific effects of a-dystrobrevin knockdowns.
The role of histone variants during early development
We have recently begun a systematic study of the expression and function of all of the histone variants in collaboration with Dr Fiona Myers. We have shown that one of the variants is critical for the correct expression of the pan-mesodermal gene brachyury in the early embryo.
The regulation of blood/endothelium development
The development of complex organisms is controlled by genetic regulatory networks and many diseases are based in failures in such networks. Matt Guille’s group focuses on transcription regulation in the early embryo using the Xenopus model to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate key elements of these networks. Historically we have focused on the role and regulation of the ILF2 and ILF3 transcription factors that regulate a number of genes, including those involved in blood and muscle development. The regulation of ILF3 is particularly complex; it can bind to both dsRNA and DNA and the former anchors this protein in the cytosol where it remains inactive as a transcription factor during early development (Brzostowski et al 2000). The ability of this protein to bind to DNA is down regulated by methylation whilst its RNA binding is unaffected (Cazanove et al, 2008).
Away from these, our core activities, we also collaborate with Dr Simon Cragg and colleagues at the University of York on “New tools for the realisation of cost-effective liquid biofuels from plant biomass” a BBSRC funded project to identify the key mechanisms and components of lignocellulose digestion in Limnoria, in order that we can apply principles and enzymes from this process in order to enhance industrial lignocellulose saccharification (King et al, 2010), and with Dr John Spencer on small molecule kinase and histone de-acetylase inhibitors (Spencer et al, 2011)
- Mr Alan Jafkins
- Miss Gretel Nicoloson
- Miss Maya Piccinni
- Mr Sean Morrow
- Miss Georgina Pendell