Hemmati-Brivanlou A, Melton DA. 1992. A truncated activin receptor inhibits mesoderm induction and formation of axial structures in Xenopus embryos. Nature. 359(6396):609-14. Pubmed: 1328888


Activins can induce mesoderm in embryonic explants and have been proposed as the natural inducer in Xenopus. A mutant activin receptor that inhibits activin signalling is used to show that activin is required for the induction of mesoderm in vivo and the patterning of the embryonic body plan. Blocking the activin signal transduction pathway also reveals autonomous induction of a neural marker and unmasks a relationship between activin and fibroblast growth factor.

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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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