Hedgehog (Hh) proteins constitute one of the handful of families of signaling molecules that regulate animal development. Dysfunction of the Hh signaling pathway results in severe developmental defects and is associated with a number of different types of tumour in human. Although the pathway has been highly conserved through evolution, there are some important differences, particularly between Drosophila, the species in which most is know about the mechanism of Hh signaling, and vertebrates. We are using a combination of genetic and proteomic analyses in the zebrafish to probe both the conservation and divergence of Hh pathway mechanisms and function.
Myogenic Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs)
Skeletal muscle is a major component of vertebrate anatomy, making up around 50% of the body mass of a human and around 80% of that of a fish. A number of transcription factors are known to commit cells to the myogenic lineage, but how myoblasts differentiate into different types of muscle is rather less well understood. We are use a combination of genetics, in vivo promoter analysis and ChIP to elucidate the GRNs that underlie the commitment and differentiation of myoblasts into different muscle cell type.