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Prof Leslie Dale
Anatomy Building, University College London
Gower Street
Tel: 02076793061
Fax: 02076797249
Prof Leslie Dale profile picture
  • Professor of Developmental Biology
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Themes
Research Summary
We are interested in how the embryo of the frog Xenopus laevis develops from a fertilized egg into a swimming tadpole. Xenopus embryos have many advantages as a model for studying cell signalling during development: Large numbers of synchronously developing embryos are easily obtained and their large size and ease of culture means that they are amenable to micromanipulation and single cell injection. Workable transgenic protocols have been developed and there has been some success in inhibiting gene function with antisense technologies. As a consequence, studies on Xenopus embryos have made many important contributions to our understanding of vertebrate development.

Much of our research has involved studies on the roles of Tolloid metalloproteases in Xenopus development and especialy their role in regulating BMP signalling. They achieve this by cleaving the BMP inhibitory binding protein Chordin, releasing fragments with reduced affinity for BMPs. As a consequence they increase BMP signalling activity. In addition, we have studied a number of GPCRs that are expressed in Xenopus gastrulae, concentrating on receptors belonging to the P2Y subclass. One of these, P2Y5, is a receptor for the bioactive lipid LPA and we have compelling evidence that it is required for forebrain development. Finally, we have been studying Xenopus members of the ADP-ribosyl cyclase family and have evidence that one of these, CD38, is required for muscle differentiation.
Teaching Summary
Teaching Lead Department of Cell & Developmental Biology
Degree program tutor, Human Sciences BSc
First year tutor, Human Sciences BSc
Admissions tutor, Human Sciences BSc
Module organizer ANAT1003, Introduction to Anatomy and Developmental Biology
Organizer of RDG module, year 2 MBBS
Chair of Anatomy Exam Board
Academic Background
1983   Doctor of Philosophy University of Edinburgh
1977   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of Sussex
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