Genetics of blood brain barrier formation
The blood brain barrier (BBB) separates the brain parenchyma from circulating blood and macromolecules, represents a significant challenge for delivery of cancer therapeutics, and acts as a barrier in metastasis. The BBB is made up of tightly adherent vascular endothelial cells surrounded by essential mural cell lineages, such as pericytes. How the different cells at the BBB develop, interact and function in homeostasis and disease, as well as how they can be manipulated for therapeutic gain, remains far from understood. We are undertaking a large scale forward genetic screen using zebrafish to discover genes and molecular mechanisms that control the maturation and function of pericytes and BBB endothelial cells. This work aims to identify new molecular mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities.
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