Hemmati-Brivanlou A, Wright DA, Melton DA. 1992. Embryonic expression and functional analysis of a Xenopus activin receptor. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 194(1):1-11. Pubmed: 1384808


We report the isolation and characterization of a Xenopus activin receptor (XAR1). The amino acid sequence of this protein shows extensive homology with a murine activin receptor. The mRNA is expressed maternally and is ubiquitously distributed during the early stages of embryogenesis. Consistent with a possible role in mesoderm induction and patterning, interference with the normal expression of the receptor by overexpression in the early embryo results in the formation of ectopic dorsal axial structures. During neurulation the XAR1 mRNA is expressed predominantly in the presumptive brain and spinal cord, suggesting an additional function for XAR1 in neurogenesis.

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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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