Eric S Weinberg

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Professor of Genetics
Department: Genetics
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Lynch Laboratories 204E
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215 898-4198
Fax: 215 898-8780
Education:
BA (Chemistry)
University of Rochester, 1963.
Ph.D. (Developmental Biology)
Rockefeller University, 1969.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Our lab has been involved in a set of projects on the control of pattern formation and tissue differentiation in the zebrafish embryo, focusing mainly on axis formation and the development of the nervous system. Recently I have become interested in the evolution of mobile elements and am studying a group of retrotransposons in the zebrafish genome.

Key words: zebrafish, neural development, organizer, beta-catenin, retrotransposon.

Description of Research
Our lab is has been involved in a set of projects on the control of pattern formation and tissue differentiation in the zebrafish embryo, focusing mainly on axis formation and the development of the nervous system. I am also studying a class of retrotransposons in the zebrafish genome.

1. Formation and function of the embryonic organizer: One of the most fundamental issues in embryonic development is how the anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral axes are determined. We have characterized a maternal effect mutation (ichabod) which results in the failure of embryos to form the dorsal organizing center. FGF signaling is essential for organizer formation and this signaling is activated by beta-catenin-2 acting through Nodal signals. FGFs in the organizer are essential for dorsal chordin expression and are also essential for the accumulation of transcripts for the key organizer transcription factor, Bozozok. We are currently carrying out studies on the roles of FGF, Nodal, and Wnt signaling pathways on trunk, head, and notochord formation. These projects are being done in collaboration with Shingo Maegawa (Univ. of Kyoto), Gianfranco Bellipanni (Temple University), and Mate Varga (University of Budapest).

2. Retrotransposons in teleost genomes. LTR retrotransposons are an important family of transposable elements in eukaryotic genomes. Of the three major groups of such elements (gypsy/Ty3, copia/Ty1, Pao/BEL), least is known about the Pao/BEL class, a diverged group of sequences found in a wide range of animals including teleosts. We have found that a zebrafish BEL-like element has transposed into the foxi1 gene of quadro, an ear mutant isolated in a large scale mutant screen. We are analyzing the family of this group of elements in the genomes of zebrafish and other teleosts, and think that they may be a source of mutagenic genetic diversity in these organisms. There is a high degree of conservation of protein structure and maintenance of the ORF sequence of these elements over very distant evolutionary distance, indicating a selection for function.

There are no graduate student rotation opportunities for now.

Selected Publications

Andermann, P. and Weinberg, E.S. : Expression of zTlxA, a Hox11-like gene, in early differentiating embryonic neurons and cranial sensory ganglia of the zebrafish embryo. Dev. Dynam. 222: 595-610, 2001.

Bellipanni, G., Murakami, T. , Doerre, O.G., Andermann, P. and Weinberg, E.S. : Expression of Otx homeodomain proteins induces cell aggregation in developing zebrafish embryos. Dev. Biol. 223: 339-53, 2000.

Kelly, C., Chin, A.J., Leatherman, J., Kozlowski, D.J., and Weinberg, E.S.: Maternally controlled beta-catenin-mediated signaling is required for organizer formation in the zebrafish. Development 127: 3899-911, 2000.

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Last updated: 08/20/2009
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