Special Issue "Women in Developmental Biology"

A special issue of Journal of Developmental Biology (ISSN 2221-3759).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Christiana Ruhrberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, 11-43 Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK
Interests: angiogenesis; neural crest cell; hindbrain; retina; VEGF; neuropilin; semaphorin

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The research communities in many areas of biology are actively seeking to promote the career progression of women to promote gender balance amongst senior scientists. As developmental biologists, we are already fortunate to belong to a community with many outstanding female researchers, who have driven the field forward for many decades by providing knowledge, leadership and vision. The continued presence of eminent female researchers in the field of developmental biology has promoted a research environment in which a new generation of young scientists embraces gender equality, international exchange and collaboration.

To celebrate the achievements of women in developmental biology research, this Special Issue of the Journal of Developmental Biology will feature a collection of articles from female investigators who are either already established in senior positions, are in the process of establishing their own research groups or are still in academic training. Contributions to this issue can be submitted as original research papers or reviews, and they may span any topic of developmental biology.

We look forward to receiving your contributions!

Prof. Christiana Ruhrberg
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Developmental Biology is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptional Trajectories in Mouse Limb Buds Reveal the Transition from Anterior-Posterior to Proximal-Distal Patterning at Early Limb Bud Stage
J. Dev. Biol. 2020, 8(4), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb8040031 - 07 Dec 2020
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Abstract
Limb patterning relies in large part on the function of the Hox family of developmental genes. While the differential expression of Hox genes shifts from the anterior–posterior (A–P) to the proximal–distal (P–D) axis around embryonic day 11 (E11), whether this shift coincides with [...] Read more.
Limb patterning relies in large part on the function of the Hox family of developmental genes. While the differential expression of Hox genes shifts from the anterior–posterior (A–P) to the proximal–distal (P–D) axis around embryonic day 11 (E11), whether this shift coincides with a more global change of A–P to P–D patterning program remains unclear. By performing and analyzing the transcriptome of the developing limb bud from E10.5 to E12.5, at single-cell resolution, we have uncovered transcriptional trajectories that revealed a general switch from A–P to P–D genetic program between E10.5 and E11.5. Interestingly, all the transcriptional trajectories at E10.5 end with cells expressing either proximal or distal markers suggesting a progressive acquisition of P–D identity. Moreover, we identified three categories of genes expressed in the distal limb mesenchyme characterized by distinct temporal expression dynamics. Among these are Hoxa13 and Hoxd13 (Hox13 hereafter), which start to be expressed around E10.5, and importantly the binding of the HOX13 factors was observed within or in the neighborhood of several of the distal limb genes. Our data are consistent with previous evidence suggesting that the transition from the early/proximal to the late/distal transcriptome of the limb mesenchyme largely relies on HOX13 function. Based on these results and the evidence that HOX13 factors restrict Hoxa11 expression to the proximal limb, in progenitor cells of the zeugopod, we propose that HOX13 act as a key determinant of P–D patterning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Developmental Biology)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Blood Vessel Patterning on Retinal Astrocytes Requires Endothelial Flt-1 (VEGFR-1)
J. Dev. Biol. 2019, 7(3), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7030018 - 07 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1340
Abstract
Feedback mechanisms are critical components of many pro-angiogenic signaling pathways that keep vessel growth within a functional range. The Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A) pathway utilizes the decoy VEGF-A receptor Flt-1 to provide negative feedback regulation of VEGF-A signaling. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Feedback mechanisms are critical components of many pro-angiogenic signaling pathways that keep vessel growth within a functional range. The Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A) pathway utilizes the decoy VEGF-A receptor Flt-1 to provide negative feedback regulation of VEGF-A signaling. In this study, we investigated how the genetic loss of flt-1 differentially affects the branching complexity of vascular networks in tissues despite similar effects on endothelial sprouting. We selectively ablated flt-1 in the post-natal retina and found that maximum induction of flt-1 loss resulted in alterations in endothelial sprouting and filopodial extension, ultimately yielding hyper-branched networks in the absence of changes in retinal astrocyte architecture. The mosaic deletion of flt-1 revealed that sprouting endothelial cells flanked by flt-1/ regions of vasculature more extensively associated with underlying astrocytes and exhibited aberrant sprouting, independent of the tip cell genotype. Overall, our data support a model in which tissue patterning features, such as retinal astrocytes, integrate with flt-1-regulated angiogenic molecular and cellular mechanisms to yield optimal vessel patterning for a given tissue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Developmental Biology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Metabolism in the Zebrafish Retina
J. Dev. Biol. 2021, 9(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb9010010 - 15 Mar 2021
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Abstract
Retinal photoreceptors are amongst the most metabolically active cells in the body, consuming more glucose as a metabolic substrate than even the brain. This ensures that there is sufficient energy to establish and maintain photoreceptor functions during and after their differentiation. Such high [...] Read more.
Retinal photoreceptors are amongst the most metabolically active cells in the body, consuming more glucose as a metabolic substrate than even the brain. This ensures that there is sufficient energy to establish and maintain photoreceptor functions during and after their differentiation. Such high dependence on glucose metabolism is conserved across vertebrates, including zebrafish from early larval through to adult retinal stages. As the zebrafish retina develops rapidly, reaching an adult-like structure by 72 hours post fertilisation, zebrafish larvae can be used to study metabolism not only during retinogenesis, but also in functionally mature retinae. The interplay between rod and cone photoreceptors and the neighbouring retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells establishes a metabolic ecosystem that provides essential control of their individual functions, overall maintaining healthy vision. The RPE facilitates efficient supply of glucose from the choroidal vasculature to the photoreceptors, which produce metabolic products that in turn fuel RPE metabolism. Many inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) result in photoreceptor degeneration, either directly arising from photoreceptor-specific mutations or secondary to RPE loss, leading to sight loss. Evidence from a number of vertebrate studies suggests that the imbalance of the metabolic ecosystem in the outer retina contributes to metabolic failure and disease pathogenesis. The use of larval zebrafish mutants with disease-specific mutations that mirror those seen in human patients allows us to uncover mechanisms of such dysregulation and disease pathology with progression from embryonic to adult stages, as well as providing a means of testing novel therapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Developmental Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Delta-Notch Signaling: The Long and the Short of a Neuron’s Influence on Progenitor Fates
J. Dev. Biol. 2020, 8(2), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb8020008 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
Maintenance of the neural progenitor pool during embryonic development is essential to promote growth of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is initially formed by tightly compacted proliferative neuroepithelial cells that later acquire radial glial characteristics and continue to divide at the [...] Read more.
Maintenance of the neural progenitor pool during embryonic development is essential to promote growth of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is initially formed by tightly compacted proliferative neuroepithelial cells that later acquire radial glial characteristics and continue to divide at the ventricular (apical) and pial (basal) surface of the neuroepithelium to generate neurons. While neural progenitors such as neuroepithelial cells and apical radial glia form strong connections with their neighbours at the apical and basal surfaces of the neuroepithelium, neurons usually form the mantle layer at the basal surface. This review will discuss the existing evidence that supports a role for neurons, from early stages of differentiation, in promoting progenitor cell fates in the vertebrates CNS, maintaining tissue homeostasis and regulating spatiotemporal patterning of neuronal differentiation through Delta-Notch signalling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Developmental Biology)
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Open AccessReview
The Molecular Basis of Human Anophthalmia and Microphthalmia
J. Dev. Biol. 2019, 7(3), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7030016 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3429
Abstract
Human eye development is coordinated through an extensive network of genetic signalling pathways. Disruption of key regulatory genes in the early stages of eye development can result in aborted eye formation, resulting in an absent eye (anophthalmia) or a small underdeveloped eye (microphthalmia) [...] Read more.
Human eye development is coordinated through an extensive network of genetic signalling pathways. Disruption of key regulatory genes in the early stages of eye development can result in aborted eye formation, resulting in an absent eye (anophthalmia) or a small underdeveloped eye (microphthalmia) phenotype. Anophthalmia and microphthalmia (AM) are part of the same clinical spectrum and have high genetic heterogeneity, with >90 identified associated genes. By understanding the roles of these genes in development, including their temporal expression, the phenotypic variation associated with AM can be better understood, improving diagnosis and management. This review describes the genetic and structural basis of eye development, focusing on the function of key genes known to be associated with AM. In addition, we highlight some promising avenues of research involving multiomic approaches and disease modelling with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, which will aid in developing novel therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Developmental Biology)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: The role of RNA-binding proteins in neural crest and craniofacial development
Authors: Thomas E. Forman; Brenna J.C. Dennison; Katherine A. Fantauzzo
Affiliation: Department of Craniofacial Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA

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