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Karuna Sampath

cellResearch in the Sampath Laboratory focuses on fundamental mechanisms that control development and differentiation of embryonic progenitors and adult stem cells, and the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes using the animal model of human development and disease, zebrafish, and adult human stem cells as experimental systems.

We use molecular genetic, genomic, live imaging, proteomic, and embryological approaches to determine the roles of non-coding and coding RNAs, and regulation of nodal signaling.

Our current work focuses on the following themes:

1) Maternal Nodal and Regulation of Nodal signaling

2) Mechanism of maternal nodal RNA as a paradigm for RNAs with both coding and non-coding functions (cncRNAs)

3) Regulation of development by RNA control elements and RBPs (RNA regulons)

4) Microtubule-based RNA transport and localization.

Image shows cells in a 30% epiboly stage zebrafish embryo expressing GFP-tagged Nodal ligand (green) and mCherry tagged Acvr2 receptor (red); scale bar 50 mm.

Selected publications:

  • Gore, AV., S Maegawa, A Cheong, PC Gilligan, E Weinberg, and K Sampath. The zebrafish dorsal axis is apparent by the four-cell stage. Nature 438: 1030-1035 (2005).
  • Gilligan, PC, P Kumari, S Lim, A Cheong, A Chang and K Sampath. Conservation defines functional motifs in the squint/nodal-related 1 RNA Dorsal Localization Element. Nucleic Acids Research 39: 3340-3349 (2011).
  • Lim S, P Kumari, PC Gilligan, H Quach, S Mathavan and K Sampath. Dorsal activity of maternal squint is mediated by a non-coding function of the RNA. Development 139: 2903-2915, doi:10.1242/dev.077081 (2012).
  • Tran, LD, H Hino, H Quach, S Lim, A Shindo, Y Mimori-Kiyosue, M Mione, N Ueno, C Winkler, M Hibi, and K Sampath. Dynamic Microtubules at the Vegetal Cortex Predict the Embryonic Axis in Zebrafish. Development 139: 3644-3652, doi:10.1242/dev.082362 (2012).
  • Kumari, P, PC Gilligan, S Lim, S Winkler, R Philp, and K Sampath. An Essential Role for Maternal Control of Nodal Signaling. eLife 2:00683; DOI: 10.7554/eLife.00683, (2013).