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Analysis of the role of notch-delta signalling during somite formation in the paraxial mesoderm


Research objectives and content Differentiation of somites into specific cell lineages is regulated by inducing signals derived from the local environment. The cellular and molecular interactions that are involved in patterning newly formed somites have been well documented. However, the paraxial mesoderm does not respond to these signals prior to somite formation. It is not clear what molecular mechanisms regulate, firstly, the competence of the paraxial mesoderm to respond to extrinsic sources of inducing signals, and secondly, the process of paraxial mesoderm segmentation. The aim of this project will be to define these molecular signals using both in vivo and in vitro systems. The Notch and Delta genes have been implicated in the specification of cell fate during neurogenesis and mesoderm formation in Drosophila. Three mouse homologues of these genes, Notch-l, Delta-l (which have also been identified in the chick) and the recently identified mouse Delta-3 gene, are expressed in the presomitic mesoderm. Initially, a PCR approach will be used to isolate the avian homologue of the mouse Delta-3 gene. The role of Notch-Delta signalling in somite formation and the development of competence to respond to inducing signals, will then be investigated using avian retroviral constructs of the Delta genes coupled to in vivo and in vitro approaches. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact) During this post-doctoral project I will be using a molecular approach to understanding the role of signalling molecules in the developing paraxial mesoderm thus expanding my repertoire of skills using a PCR approach to isolate specific signalling molecules I will address their role in paraxial mesoderm by use of retroviral constructs. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


31,Campus De Luminy
13288 Marseille