Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy and
Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics
B.A. University of Chicago
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Maureen Condic's Lab Page
Maureen Condic's PubMed Literature Search
Molecular Biology Program
Developmental Neurobiology, Interactions of sensory neurons with extracellular matrix
The factors controlling specification of neuronal identity in the peripheral nervous system are poorly understood. We have recently shown that sensory neurons are distinct prior to target enervation and characterized early differences in gene expression and growth cone motility between different classes of sensory neurons.
We are currently investigating the role of the Hedgehog and BMP signaling pathways in the specification of sensory neuron phenotype, both in vivo and in vitro. In a related body of work, we are collaborating with a team of developmental biologists and pediatric cardiologists to investigate the stem cell properties of human amniocytes, and determine whether these cells can be differentiated into cardiac and neural lineages in vitro, as a possible approach to both diagnostics and therapeutic treatment of congenital heart disease.
The final area of research in the laboratory involves the interactions of different classes of developing sensory neurons with the extracellular matrix as they extend towards their targets. We have shown that neurons regulate the transcription, subcellular localization and the functional state of matrix receptors (receptors of the integrin class) in ways that other cells do not. Regulation of integrin expression and function enables embryonic neurons to compensate for the diverse embryonic environments sensory growth cones must traverse during development, including tissues that express low levels of growth promoting molecules and/or growth-inhibiting molecules.
We are currently investigating the role of netrin-1 and cAMP signaling pathways in regulating growth cone motility and guidance. We have extended our observations on sensory growth cone migration to a second population of "invasive" cells, the embryonic neural crest. Neural crest cells migrate extensively through the embryo to give rise to a wide range of derivatives, including sensory neurons. We have demonstrated that neural crest cells also regulate their motility to compensate for diverse extracellular conditions. The cell biology of neural crest migration and the interaction between crest motility and specification of crest fates during development are currently under investigation.
Adult rat sensory neurons cultured on a weakly permissive substrata, similar to the extracellular environment of the adult central nervous system. A control neuron (red) infected with an adenoviral construct expressing beta-galactosidase shows the poor axon extension characteristic of regenerating adult neurons. In contrast, a neuron infected with adenovirus expressing the integrin receptor alpha5b1 (green) shows robust regeneration under the same conditions.
- Cadwalader EL, Condic ML, Yost HJ (2012) 2-O-Sulfotransferase Controls Wnt Signaling to Regulate Cell Cycle and Adhesion in Zebrafish Epiboly. Development, 139(7):1296-1305
- Condic ML (2011) Is this cell a human being?: Exploring the status of embryos, stem cells and human-animal hybrids. Chapter 2: Pre-implantation stages of human development: the biological and moral status of early embryos. Eds. Antoine Suarez, Joachim Huarte Social Trends Institute Monograph Series. Barcelona, Spain. Springer, New York, NY.
- Condic ML (2011) A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments: Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos. Chapter 10: A biological definition of the human embryo. Ed. Stephen Napier. Philosophy and Medicine Series, Springer, New York, NY.
- Condic ML, Rao M (2010) Alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells: Scientific solutions revisited. Stem Cells and Development, 19(8):1121-9
- Condic ML, Lee P, George RP (2009) Rejoinder to Magill and Neaves on Stem Cells vs. Organisms. Kennedy Institute Ethics Journal, 19(1):33-40
- Rao M, Condic ML (2009) Is there hope for ethical and safe stem cell therapeutics? Genome Medicine, 1(7):70
- Strachan LR, Condic ML (2008) (Epub Nov 1, 2007) Neural crest motility on fibronectin is regulated by integrin activation. Exp Cell Res, 314(3):441-452
- Condic ML (2008) Alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells; altered nuclear transfer. Cell Proliferation, 41 (Suppl. 1): 7-19
- Guan W, Wang G, Scott SA, Condic ML (2008) (Epub Dec 4, 2007). Shh regulates cell number and neuronal identity in dorsal root ganglia. Dev Biol, 15;314(2):317-28