Retinal Development Laboratory

Xiangyun Wei, PhD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology,
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Developmental Biology Retinal Development Laboratory
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Lab Personnel

Chuanyu Guo, PhD (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Research Interests

Multicellular organisms arrange cells in special patterns to form distinct structures through a set of developmental instructions that we do not fully understand. In my laboratory, we use the zebrafish retina as a model system to study the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular pattern formation in the central nervous system.

The vertebrate retina develops from a single sheet of neuroepithelial cells, which later differentiate and reorganize into layered structures during retinal neurogenesis. Each retinal layer is composed of specific neuronal classes and executes distinct functions. The molecular mechanisms that control retinal pattern formation remain largely unknown.

To understand how retinal cells organize, my lab uses a variety of experimental approaches that involve Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and Developmental Biology. Our research is currently focused on the following areas: epithelial polarity in retinal morphogenesis; cell-cell adhesion in balancing tissue cohesion and cellular mobility; and cell nuclear structure in regulating retinal gene expression.

Postdoctoral positions are available to study the molecular mechanisms of cellular pattern formation in the zebrafish retina.

Select Recent Publications

  1. J. Zou, X. Wang, and X. Wei (2012) Crb apical polarity proteins maintain zebrafish retinal cone mosaics via intercellular binding of their extracellular domains. Developmental Cell. May 9. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. J. Zou, X. Yang, and X. Wei (2010) Restricted Localization of Ponli, a Novel Zebrafish MAGUK-Family Protein, to the Inner Segment Interface Areas between Green, Red, and Blue Cones. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 51 (3): 1738-1746.
  3. X. Yang, J. Zou, D. Hyde, L. Davidson, and X. Wei (2009) Stepwise maturation of apicobasal polarity of the neuroepithelium is essential for vertebrate neurulation. Journal of Neuroscience. 29:11426-11440.
  4. J. Zou, K. Lathrop, M. Sun, X. Wei (2008) Intact RPE maintained by Nok is essential for retinal epithelial polarity and cellular patterning in zebrafish. Journal of Neuroscience. 28(50):13684 –13695.
  5. X. Wei, C. Yan, Y. Luo, X. Shi, S. Nelson, and D. Hyde. (2004). The zebrafish Par-3 homolog is required for separation of the eye fields and retinal lamination, but not neuronal specification. Developmental Biology. 269:286-301.
  6. X. Wei and J. Malicki. (2002). nagie oko, encoding a MAGUK-family protein, is essential for cellular patterning of the retina. Nature Genetics. 31, 150-157.
  7. X. Wei, S. Somanathan, J. Samarabandu and R. Berezney. (1999). Three-dimensional visualization of transcription sites and their association with splicing factor-rich nuclear speckles. Journal of Cell Biology 146: 543-558.
  8. X. Wei, J. Samarabandu, R.S. Devdhar, A. Siegel. R. Acharya, R. Berezney. (1998) Segregation of transcription and replication sites into higher order domains. Science. 281: 1502-1505.

Contact Information

Xiangyun Wei, PhD
BST 3 -5060,  3501 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213