Hebrok M, Kim SK, Melton DA. 1998. Notochord repression of endodermal Sonic hedgehog permits pancreas development. Genes & development. 12(11):1705-13. Pubmed: 9620856


Notochord signals to the endoderm are required for development of the chick dorsal pancreas. Sonic hedgehog (SHH) is normally absent from pancreatic endoderm, and we provide evidence that notochord, in contrast to its effects on adjacent neuroectoderm where SHH expression is induced, represses SHH expression in adjacent nascent pancreatic endoderm. We identify activin-betaB and FGF2 as notochord factors that can repress endodermal SHH and thereby permit expression of pancreas genes including Pdx1 and insulin. Endoderm treatment with antibodies that block hedgehog activity also results in pancreatic gene expression. Prevention of SHH expression in prepancreatic dorsal endoderm by intercellular signals, like activin and FGF, may be critical for permitting early steps of chick pancreatic development.

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Photo of Doug Melton

Doug Melton is pursuing a cure for type 1 diabetes. His lab studies the developmental biology of the pancreas, using that information to grow and develop pancreatic cells (islets of Langerhans). In parallel, they investigate ways to protect beta cells from autoimmune attack.

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