Kintner CR, Melton DA. 1987. Expression of Xenopus N-CAM RNA in ectoderm is an early response to neural induction. Development (Cambridge, England). 99(3):311-25. Pubmed: 2443340


We have isolated Xenopus laevis N-CAM cDNA clones and used these to study the expression of N-CAM RNA during neural induction. The results show that the first marked increase in N-CAM RNA levels occurs during gastrulation when mesoderm comes in contact with ectoderm and induces neural development. In situ hybridization results show that the early expression of N-CAM RNA is localized to the neural plate and its later expression is confined to the neural tube. Induction experiments with explanted germ layers show that N-CAM RNA is not expressed in ectoderm unless there is contact with inducing tissue. Together these results suggest an approach to studying how ectoderm is committed to form neural rather than epidermal tissue. Specifically, the data suggest that neural commitment is marked and perhaps mediated by the transcriptional activation of genes, like N-CAM, in the neural ectoderm.

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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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