Klein PS, Melton DA. 1994. Induction of mesoderm in Xenopus laevis embryos by translation initiation factor 4E. Science (New York, N.Y.). 265(5173):803-6. Pubmed: 8047887


The microinjection of messenger RNA encoding the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF-4E) into early embryos of Xenopus laevis leads to the induction of mesoderm in ectodermal explants. This induction occurs without a stimulation of overall protein synthesis and is blocked by the co-expression of a dominant negative mutant of the proto-oncogene ras or a truncated activin type II receptor. Although other translation factors have been studied in vertebrate and invertebrate embryos, none have been shown to play a direct role in development. The results here suggest a mechanism for relaying and amplifying signals for mesoderm induction.

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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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