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The work in the Bader laboratory has focused on the commitment, differentiation and function of cardiac and vascular cells in the embryo. The early heart development and vasculogenesis provide excellent systems to examine fundamental issues in developmental biology. Current projects are focused on the function of two genes that were discovered in the Bader lab and the analysis of a conserved system whereby coelomates generate vessels to organs during development.
LEK1 is a large and complex protein that regulates proliferation and differentiation of cardiac myocytes. The Bader lab has determined that LEK1 proteins function in cell movement, trafficking and division through its interaction with Rb proteins, the cytoskeleton, and the SNARE complex. Ongoing work is focused on conditionally inhibiting the function of this gene in developing mice and continuing studies of LEK1 interaction with subcellular domains.
Bves, discovered by a former member of the lab, is a protein that is essential for proper cell/cell interaction during coronary vessel development. Bves is one of the first proteins trafficked to points of cell/cell contact and it associates with cytoplasmic proteins that regulate cell/cell adhesion, process formation and movement. The lab is working to determine how the disruption of Bves function impacts embryonic development in vertebrate and invertebrates.