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      Profile of Leonard I. Zon

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          Positional cloning of zebrafish ferroportin1 identifies a conserved vertebrate iron exporter.

          Defects in iron absorption and utilization lead to iron deficiency and overload disorders. Adult mammals absorb iron through the duodenum, whereas embryos obtain iron through placental transport. Iron uptake from the intestinal lumen through the apical surface of polarized duodenal enterocytes is mediated by the divalent metal transporter, DMTi. A second transporter has been postulated to export iron across the basolateral surface to the circulation. Here we have used positional cloning to identify the gene responsible for the hypochromic anaemia of the zebrafish mutant weissherbst. The gene, ferroportin1, encodes a multiple-transmembrane domain protein, expressed in the yolk sac, that is a candidate for the elusive iron exporter. Zebrafish ferroportin1 is required for the transport of iron from maternally derived yolk stores to the circulation and functions as an iron exporter when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Human Ferroportin1 is found at the basal surface of placental syncytiotrophoblasts, suggesting that it also transports iron from mother to embryo. Mammalian Ferroportin1 is expressed at the basolateral surface of duodenal enterocytes and could export cellular iron into the circulation. We propose that Ferroportin1 function may be perturbed in mammalian disorders of iron deficiency or overload.
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            Prostaglandin E2 regulates vertebrate haematopoietic stem cell homeostasis.

            Haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis is tightly controlled by growth factors, signalling molecules and transcription factors. Definitive HSCs derived during embryogenesis in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros region subsequently colonize fetal and adult haematopoietic organs. To identify new modulators of HSC formation and homeostasis, a panel of biologically active compounds was screened for effects on stem cell induction in the zebrafish aorta-gonad-mesonephros region. Here, we show that chemicals that enhance prostaglandin (PG) E2 synthesis increased HSC numbers, and those that block prostaglandin synthesis decreased stem cell numbers. The cyclooxygenases responsible for PGE2 synthesis were required for HSC formation. A stable derivative of PGE2 improved kidney marrow recovery following irradiation injury in the adult zebrafish. In murine embryonic stem cell differentiation assays, PGE2 caused amplification of multipotent progenitors. Furthermore, ex vivo exposure to stabilized PGE2 enhanced spleen colony forming units at day 12 post transplant and increased the frequency of long-term repopulating HSCs present in murine bone marrow after limiting dilution competitive transplantation. The conserved role for PGE2 in the regulation of vertebrate HSC homeostasis indicates that modulation of the prostaglandin pathway may facilitate expansion of HSC number for therapeutic purposes.
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              A zebrafish melanoma model reveals emergence of neural crest identity during melanoma initiation.

              The "cancerized field" concept posits that cancer-prone cells in a given tissue share an oncogenic mutation, but only discreet clones within the field initiate tumors. Most benign nevi carry oncogenic BRAF(V600E) mutations but rarely become melanoma. The zebrafish crestin gene is expressed embryonically in neural crest progenitors (NCPs) and specifically reexpressed in melanoma. Live imaging of transgenic zebrafish crestin reporters shows that within a cancerized field (BRAF(V600E)-mutant; p53-deficient), a single melanocyte reactivates the NCP state, revealing a fate change at melanoma initiation in this model. NCP transcription factors, including sox10, regulate crestin expression. Forced sox10 overexpression in melanocytes accelerated melanoma formation, which is consistent with activation of NCP genes and super-enhancers leading to melanoma. Our work highlights NCP state reemergence as a key event in melanoma initiation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
                Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
                PNAS
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
                National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                19 July 2023
                1 August 2023
                19 January 2024
                : 120
                : 31
                : e2310767120
                Article
                202310767
                10.1073/pnas.2310767120
                10400938
                37467283
                98fdf026-106d-4e5d-84f9-6255cd555549
                Copyright @ 2023

                This article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).

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