Dr. Lyczak's Research Lab

A fundamental question in developmental biology is: How is polarity first established during embryonic development?  My interest is in understanding how and when on the journey from a single cell to a fully differentiated embryo, the anterior-posterior (head-tail) body axis is established.  In my lab, we use the embryo of the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a tool to address this question.  In C. elegans, early events that occur just after fertilization act to polarize the first body axis.  In order to discover which proteins may be involved in this process, my lab makes use of genetic approaches, screening for and analyzing mutants that fail to properly polarize the anterior-posterior axis.

We have identified a puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase (PAM-1) that is necessary for axis polarization as well as chromosome segregation and cell cycle regulation. This gene is highly related to the human NPEPPS protein, the function of which is poorly understood. Current projects in the lab are focused on elucidating the action of this peptidase during development. Phenotypic analysis in the lab includes live imaging of GFP tagged proteins in embryos and antibody localization studies to uncover the function of the protein in regulation of chromosome dynamics and cell cycle control. Screens are also underway to identify proteins that may act in conjunction with or as targets of PAM-1.

My most recent research paper is located here: http://dev.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/133/21/4281?ck=nck