Marina Martínez-Bartolomé, M.Sc.

Research Project: Wnt16-Fzl1/2/7 signaling antagonizes Wnt1/Wnt8-Fzl5/8-JNK signaling mediated restriction of the anterior neuroectoderm along the anterior-posterior axis in the sea urchin embryo 

During my Masters research, I studied  fungal species in eggs of different endangered reptiles in Ecuador, performing molecular lab procedures and phylogenetic analyses under the mentorship of Dr. Javier Diéguez-Uribeondo at the Department of Mycology (Botanical Garden of Madrid, Spain) (2013-2014). As a masters student I became more interested in evolutionary developmental biology, and that is the reason why Range Lab was a perfect fit for me.

In the Range lab, I am currently studying the mechanism by which Fzl1/2/7-PKC signaling antagonizes Fzl5/8-JNK signaling during the anterior neuroectoderm (ANE) restriction process in sea urchins. In early development of the sea urchin embryo, ANE positioning depends on integrated information from the Wnt/β-catenin, Wnt/JNK, and Wnt/PKC pathways, forming an interconnected Wnt signaling network. We have previously shown that Fzl1/2/7-PKC pathway antagonizes the down-regulation of the ANE GRN by Wnt1/Wnt8-Fzl5/8-JNK signaling in the anterior ectodermal half of early cleavage and blastula staged embryos, allowing for the proper positioning of the ANE territory around the anterior pole. Yet, the exact mechanism by which Fzl1/2/7-PKC signaling antagonizes Fzl5/8-JNK signaling during this process is still unclear. Hence, my research aims to better characterize the Fzl1/2/7 signaling pathway and the gene regulatory network (GRN) it activates to identify possible interactions between these different Wnt signaling branches during this fundamental developmental process. 

Photo by Piedad Bartolomé



Martínez-Bartolomé, M, and Range, R. "A biphasic role of non-canonical Wnt16 signaling during early anterior-posterior patterning and morphogenesis of the sea urchin embryo". In Revision, Development (2019). 

Erkenbrack, E. M., Croce. J., Miranda, E., Gautam, S., Martínez-Bartolomé, M., Yaguchi, S., Range, R. C. “Whole mount in situ hybridization techniques for analysis of the spatial distribution of mRNAs in sea urchin embryos and early larvae”. Book Chapter. Methods in Cell Biology (2019).


Khadka, A., Martínez-Bartolomé, M., Burr, S. D., Range, R. C. "A novel gene’s role in an ancient mechanism: secreted Frizzled-related protein 1 is a critical component in the Wnt signaling network governing anterior-posterior neuroectoderm patterning in sea urchin embryos". EvoDevo. (2018) 9:1,


Range, R. C., Martínez-Bartolomé, M., Burr, S. D. "The Power of Simplicity: Sea Urchin Embryos as in Vivo Developmental Models for Studying Complex Cell-to-cell Signaling Network Interactions". J. Vis. Exp. (120), e55113, doi:10.3791/55113 (2017).

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