Grants awarded

Resolving the functions of uncharacterised signalling proteins using zebrafish

Grantholder:

Dr Vassilis Bitsikas

University College London

United Kingdom

Cells communicate and coordinate their activity and behaviour using molecular signals. Such signalling events form the basis of development. The recently discovered Toddler signalling pathway provides an entry point to uncover novel mechanisms that regulate cell movement. Toddler is a ubiquitous signal that promotes movement of cells during early development of embryos but it is not known how Toddler increases cell motility.

I will analyse how Toddler affects the adhesion and shape of cells. I will then identify novel signals that guide the development of the nervous system.

The brain is the most complex organ in our body and the developmental principles that guide the emergence of such levels of complexity are not well understood. Identifying the cellular and molecular functions of novel signalling molecules will provide new insights into brain development, physiology and behaviour.