Geraldine C. Seydoux

Board Member: 2011-2016

Scholar: 1997

Awarded Institution
Professor
The Johns Hopkins University
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Website

Research Interests

Cell Determination in C. elegans 

We are interested in understanding how cells acquire different fates during development. In particular, we are focusing on the mechanisms that distinguish between soma and germline in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In C. elegans, distinct somatic and germ lineages are made during the first embryonic cleavages, allowing this process to be analyzed in a simple embryo containing just a few cells. By developing an in situ hybridization protocol suitable for C. elegans, we have identified several differences in RNA content between somatic and germline cells in early embryos. These asymmetries suggest the existence of two mechanisms that specify germline fate: 1) repression of gene expression in embryonic germ cells, and 2) inheritance of the germline-specific P granules and associated mRNAs. We are currently using a combination of genetic and molecular approaches to characterize the molecules involved in these two mechanisms.