University of Wisconsin–Madison
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences | School of Medicine and Public Health

Francisco Pelegri



Genetics and Medical Genetics
Cellular and developmental mechanisms in the vertebrate egg-to-embryo transition, early cell fate specification

2424 Genetics/Biotech
Medical Genetics Ph.D., M.I.T. (1994), Postdoctoral Research: Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen, Germany
Genetics and Medical Genetics
Research Interests
Analysis of cellular and developmental mechanisms involved in the vertebrate egg-to-embryo transition and early cell fate specification
Research Fields
Cell Biology, Computational, Systems & Synthetic Biology, Development, Zebrafish

Research Description:
The goal of our research program is to understand at the cellular and molecular level processes involved in early vertebrate development, specifically but not exclusively the functional diversification of cell types. We use the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model system because it allows combining genetic, embryological and molecular approaches. In the zebrafish, as in many other animal species, all developmental processes that occur prior to the activation of the zygotic genome at the mid-blastula transition, as well as some processes that occur after this transition, are driven by maternal factors stored in the egg during oogenesis. We focus on the analysis of genes that produce such maternal factors and which are involved in cell fate decisions such as the determination of the germ line, the dorsal axis, and the embryonic germ layers. Because in the zebrafish the segregation of germ cell fate determinants is intimately linked to the process of cellular division, we also focus on the analysis of genes and subcellular events required for cytokinesis.

Representative Publications:
Search PubMed for more publications by Francisco Pelegri

Cortical depth and differential transport of vegetally localized dorsal and germ line determinants in the zebrafish embryo. (2015) Welch, E., Pelegri, F. Bioarchitecture 5, 13-26.

Ploidy manipulation and induction of alternate cleavage patterns through inhibition of centrosome duplication in the early zebrafish embryo. (2015) Heier, J., Takle, K.A., Hasley, A.O., Pelegri, F. Dev. Dyn. 244, 1300-1312.

Ge, X., Grotjahn, D., Welch, E., Holguin, C., Lyman-Gingerich, J., Dimitrova, E., Abrams, E., Marlow, F., Yabe, T., Mullins, M., Pelegri, F. (2014) Hecate/Grip2a acts to reorganize the cytoskeleton in the symmetry-breaking event of embryonic axis induction. PLoS Genetics 10, e1004422.

Eno, C., Pelegri,
F. (2013) Gradual recruitment and selective clearing generate germ plasm aggregates in the zebrafish embryo. Bioarchitecture 3, 125-132.

Nair, S., Marlow, F., Abrams, E., Kapp, L., Mullins, M., Pelegri, F. 2013. The chromosomal passenger protein Birc5b organizes microfilaments and germ plasm in the zebrafish embryo. PLoS Genetics 9, e1003448.

Nair, S., Lindeman, R.E., and Pelegri F. 2013. In vitro oocyte culture-based manipulation of zebrafish maternal genes. Dev Dyn. 2013 Jan;242(1):44-52. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.23894. Epub 2012 Nov 24.

Lindeman, R.E., Pelegri, F. 2012. Localized products of futile cycle/lrmp promote centrosome-nucleus attachment in the zebrafish zygote. Current Biology 22, 843-851.

Putiri, E. and Pelegri, F. 2011. The zebrafish maternal-effect gene mission impossible encodes the DEAH-box helicase Dhx16 and is essential for the expression of downstream endodermal genes. Dev. Biol. 353, 275-289.

Yabe, T., Ge. X., Lindeman R., Nair, S., Runke G., Mullins M.C., and Pelegri, F. 2009. The maternal-effect gene cellular island encodes Aurora B kinase and is essential for furrow formation in the early zebrafish embryo. PloS Genetics 5, e1000518.

Yabe, T., Ge, X. and F. Pelegri. 2007. The zebrafish maternal-effect gene cellular atoli encodes the centriolar component Sas-6 and defects in its paternal function promote whole genome duplication. Developmental Biology, 312:44-60.

Urven, L., Yabe, T. and F. Pelegri. 2006. A role for non-muscle myosin II function in furrow maturation in the early zebrafish embryo. Journal of Cell Science. 119:4342-4352.

Lyman-Gingerich, J., Lindeman, R., Putiri, E., Stolzmann, K. and Pelegri, F. 2006. The analysis of axis induction mutant embryos reveals morphogenetic movements associated with zebrafish yolk extension. Developmental Dynamics. 235:2749-2760.

Theusch, E.V., Brown, K.J. and Pelegri, F. 2006. Separate pathways of RNA recruitment lead to the compartmentalization of the zebrafish germ plasm. Developmental Biology. 292:129-141.