The research interests of Bryan Teets, PhD, are focused on the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms and transcriptional networks underlying early neural fate specification. Bryan received his doctoral training at Temple University in the laboratory of Dr. Dianne Soprano. His thesis work defined the activities of two transcription factors (SF-1 and Dax-1) that control early cell fate specification in both mouse embryonal pluripotent carcinoma (P19) and stem cells. After completing his PhD, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Kristen Kroll to study the role of the nuclear regulatory molecule geminin, which acts near the top of a regulatory network controlling neural fate specification. Members of this network include the Zic (Zic1-5) zinc finger transcription factors. Mutation and loss of function analysis has implicated their essential roles during development and contribution to human disease. For example, in mice, complete loss of geminin results in early embryonic lethality while increased expression results in up-regulation of neural associated genes during in vitro neural differentiation. Mutation of the Zic genes, in both human and mouse, results in birth defects including: cerebellar hypoplasia, Dandy Walker malformation (present in 1/5000 births), holoprosencephaly (1/250 embryos), heterotaxia, exencephaly and other neural tube/brain defects. Despite the developmental importance of both geminin and the Zic transcription factor family, surprisingly little is known about how these transcription factors individually and collectively control neural specification during early mammalian development. With respect to the prevalence of mutation/misregulation of the Zic family members in human birth defects, Bryan's research goals include (i) determining how the Zic proteins, in conjunction with geminin, coordinate the transcriptional networks underlying early neural fate specification and (ii) how the epigenetic program is established by both Geminin and the Zic family members, which ultimately directs embryonic development.
- Teets BW, Soprano KJ, Soprano DR. (2012) Role of SF-1 and DAX-1 during differentiation of P19 cells by retinoic acid. J Cell Physiol 227(4):1501-11.
- Soprano DR, Teets BW, Soprano KJ. (2007) Role of retinoic acid in the differentiation of embryonal carcinoma and embryonic stem cells. Vitam Horm 75:69-95. Review.