Molecular mechanisms controlling lymphangiogenesis
Lymphatic vessels form from pre-existing vessels via lymphangiogenesis in both development and pathological settings. Lymphatics function to drain tissue fluid and traffic immune cells, but are also utilised by tumours to metastasise to lymph nodes and secondary sites. We characterise molecular mechanisms that control lymphangiogenesis using model organisms (zebrafish and mice). We use large scale genetic screens, CRISPR genome editing, transgenesis, single cell genomics and in vivo cell biology. Current work includes analysis of the role of Yap1 and the Hippo pathway in endothelial cell proliferation and expansion of lymphatic networks, the study of alternative pre-mRNA splicing controlled by Nova2 in lymphatic vascular signalling and the analysis of lymphatic endothelial cell fate specification. Many of our studies converge on the central CCBE1/VEGFC/VEGFR3 pathway, which plays important roles in development and disease.
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