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Post-translational regulation of neural crest development
Post-translational Regulation of Neural Crest Development
Cell migration is a highly coordinated process fundamental to both normal development and cancer. To decipher molecular mechanisms of cell migration, these researchers study a developmental migratory stem cell type, the neural crest. Neural crest cells form surprisingly diverse structures in animals with backbones and are abnormal in a variety of common birth defects and cancers. Beyond gene expression, the molecular mechanisms that regulate neural crest cell formation and migration are poorly understood. Building on an expression profile of genes upregulated as a consequence of neural crest induction, these researchers are working to understand how modifications of proteins coordinate neural crest gene expression and determine the onset of neural crest cell migration. The group's research examines the requirement for candidate neural crest regulatory factors through functional studies in chick and mouse embryos, and has implicated a putative phosphatase, a transmembrane scaffolding protein, and protein methylation in neural crest development. Through the MSI Computational Genetics Laboratory, they use LaserGene, proteomics, and next-generation sequence analysis software and resources to process and analyze data.