Cancer cells and germ cells share many cellular and molecule features and the link is even more striking when considering the many tumors resulting from aberrant germ cells. Moreover, many tumors require germline determinants for tumorigenesis, even those tumors from a non- germ line origin. As one of the original germline determinants identified, Vasa have been used extensively as a germline marker in many organisms. Recently though Vasa has received more widespread attention for its'presence in many human cancer cells, its'essential nature in tumor formation, its'role in multipotent cell functions, and recently, it's'function in regulation of the cell cycle. Despite its'long history,the functions and regulation of Vasa in these important and widespread roles are not yet known. This project is designed to reveal the regulatory mechanisms of Vasa that contributes to its'essential function in health and disease.

Public Health Relevance

Vasa is a classic germ line marker now receiving widespread attention for it's'role in tumor formation, its'function in development of multipotent stem cells and its'essential function in the regulation of cell division. This project is designed to reveal he regulatory mechanisms of this essential protein in fundamental cellular processes of health and disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-EMNR-E (02))
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Ravindranath, Neelakanta
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Brown University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Oulhen, Nathalie; Wessel, Gary M (2014) Every which way--nanos gene regulation in echinoderms. Genesis 52:279-86
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Oulhen, Nathalie; Xu, Dongdong; Wessel, Gary M (2014) Conservation of sequence and function in fertilization of the cortical granule serine protease in echinoderms. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 450:1135-41
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Oulhen, Nathalie; Yoshida, Takaya; Yajima, Mamiko et al. (2013) The 3'UTR of nanos2 directs enrichment in the germ cell lineage of the sea urchin. Dev Biol 377:275-83

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