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Title: Cyclin Dx, a novel cell-type specific cyclin identified from an enhanced functional screen, regulates the differentiation of motor neurons in Xenopus
Author: Chen, J.-A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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The formation of mesoderm is an important development process of vertebrate embryos, which can be broken down into several steps; mesoderm induction, patterning, morphogenesis and differentiation. Although mesoderm formation in Xenopus has been intensively studied, much remains to be learned about the molecular events responsible for each of these steps. Furthermore, the interplay between mesoderm induction, patterning and morphogenesis remains obscure. Here, I describe an enhanced functional screen in Xenopus designed for large-scale identification of genes controlling mesoderm formation. In order to improve the efficiency of the screen, I used a Xenopus tropicalis unique set of cDNAs, highly enriched in full-length clones. The screening strategy incorporates two mesodermal markers, bra and myf5, to assay for cell fate specification and patterning, respectively. In addition I looked for phenotypes that would suggest effects in morphogenesis, such as gastrulation defects and shortened anterior/posterior axis. To maximise the output of this screen, several other non-mesodermal phenotypes were recorded as well. Out of 1728 full-length clones I isolated 82 for their ability to alter the phenotype of tadpoles and/or the expression of bra and myf5. Many of the clones gave rise to replace the lost islet1+ expressing cells. Thus, I conclude that the major function of cyclin Dx is to maintain motor neuron progenitors and provides a temporal cue for cell cycle exit of pMNs in the developing Xenopus neural tube. These results provide the first evidence that a cell-type specific cyclin can control the timing of cell cycle exit to create diversity of differentiating motor neurons and could contribute to our understanding of how the cell cycle control can contribute to neuronal diversity in the neural tube.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available