Igor Dawid, who heads the Section for Developmental Biology, and colleagues study early development in the frog and zebrafish. Recent efforts focused on the regulation of the formation of the caudal region and the neural crest in the zebrafish embryo. The Wnt target gene cdx4 controls development of caudal tissues and is essential for hematopoiesis. Regulation of cdx4 by Wnt signaling was shown to be modulated by E4f1 through dissociation of the Tcf3 repressor complex. This mechanism assures robustness of the graded expression of cdx4 in the caudal body region. In a second project, the group studied the regulation of neural crest specification by the BTB domain protein Kctd15. Kctd15 inhibits neural crest formation and is believed to act to assure separation of the neural crest and pre-placodal domains in the zebrafish embryo.
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