Collin Lab

Directory of Calyptraeid Researchers

Cristina Grande

Cristina Grande

Cristina Grande
Lab 421
Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa
C/ Nicolás Cabrera, 1
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
28049 - MADRID
Phone 34 91 1964703
Fax: 34 91 1964698

Position: "Ramon y Cajal" postdoctoral fellow

Current Research:

The main goal of our lab is to understand the origin and evolution of body plans in bilateral organisms and the molecular pathways involved in generating them. Bilaterians are organized along a primary and a secondary axis i.e., anterior-posterior and dorsal ventral axes. These two orthogonal axes together define the axis of bilateral symmetry separating
the left and right sides of the body. While most animals show overall bilateral symmetry between the left and right sides, in some cases, specific features or organs display consistent asymmetries that can be critical for their normal functioning.

One of the textbook examples of left-right morphological asymmetries in nature is found in snails and it is called chirality, which refers to body handedness and the direction of shell coiling. Dextral (right handed) and sinistral (left handed) forms can be found at different taxonomic levels although most living species of snails are dextral.

For the last 3 years and in collaboration with other labs, we have been studying the molecular basis of chirality in Crepidula fornicata. This calyptraeid constitutes an excellent representative of a dextral snail. We have also been studying some other species that are representative of sinistral snails. We have found a correlation between the expression of certain genes during embryonic development and body chirality. Our goal is to determine how these genes are regulated in order to understand the actual symmetry-breaking event in snails, and also to examine the pathway downstream of these genes to provide new insights into the control of complex animal morphologies such as shell coiling.

References (from 2008 on)

Grande, C. 2010. Left-right asymmetries in Spiralia. Integrative and Comparative Biology. in press. doi:10.1093/icb/icq114

Grande, C.; Patel, N.H. 2009. Lophotrochozoa get into the game: the Nodal pathway and left-right asymmetry in Bilateria. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 74: 281-7

Cunha, R.L.; Grande, C.; Zardoya, R. 2009. Neogastropod phylogenetic relationships based on entire mitochondrial genomes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9: 210

Grande, C.; Patel, N.H. 2009. Nodal signaling is involved in left-right asymmetry in snails. Nature, 457: 1007-1011

Grande, C.; Templado, J.; Zardoya, R. 2008. Evolution of gastropod mitochondrial genome arrangements. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 8: 61

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