Veronica F. Hinman
634A Mellon Institute
Department of Biological Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Ph.D., University of Queensland, Australia
Postdoctoral Appointment, California Institute of Technology
The research interests and experience within this laboratory falls into the area broadly defined as evolution of developmental mechanisms. Our particular approach for understanding conserved and divergent properties of animal development is to compare architectural organization of gene regulatory networks (GRNs). GRN models consider not only the expression domains and function of many regulatory genes (mostly transcription factors), but importantly their inter-relationships. The construction of GRNs involves the use of cutting edge embryological and molecular biological technologies to study gene expression and to undertake gene perturbation, gene transfer and cis -regulatory analyses. Since our work is comparative these techniques must often be adapted for use in non-model organisms. The relationships between regulatory genes are portrayed as a network diagrams.
We use a variety of marine invertebrates, particularly echinoderms, for our research. This is due largely to the fact that the most extensive GRN currently exists for the sea urchin embryo (see http://sugp.caltech.edu/endomes/) and the starfish has been shown to be an excellent comparative model. Also marine invertebrates represent the largest morphological diversity on the planet and present a wealth of opportunity to explore the association between development, phenotype and evolution.
We use a comparative GRN method to answer questions such as:
- What are conserved features of GRNs? These may be particular relationships of orthologous genes that can explain the preservation of phylotypic characters or may even represent developmental phenomena more widespread among the metazoa that are thus crucial for understanding animal development.
- How does the architecture of GRNs diverge with morphological differences in development and how did these architectural changes arise in evolution?
- What are the similarities and differences that underlie the GRN of two independently evolving taxa that converge upon the same morphological outcome?
- What is the cis -regulatory organization that underlies GRN structure and how has the cis regulatory logic evolved in conjunction with network architecture evolution?
Yankura KA, Martik ML, Jennings CK, Hinman VF. Uncoupling of complex regulatory patterning during evolution of larval development in echinoderms. BMC Biol. 8:143, 2010 Nov 30.
McCauley BS, Weideman EP, Hinman VF. A conserved gene regulatory network subcircuit drives different developmental fates in the vegetal pole of highly divergent echinoderm embryos. Dev Biol. 340(2):200-8, 2010 Apr 15. Epub 2009 Nov 23.
Hinman VF, Yankura KA, McCauley BS. Evolution of gene regulatory network architectures: Examples of subcircuit conservation and plasticity between classes of echinoderms. Biochim Biophys Acta.1789(4):326-32, 2009.
Hinman VF and Davidson EH. Evolutionary plasticity of developmental gene regulatory network architecture. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences (USA); 104(49):19404-9, 2007.
Hinman VF, Nguyen A, Davidson EH. Caught in the evolutionary act: precise cis-regulatory basis of difference in organization of gene networks of sea stars and sea urchins. Developmental Biology; 312(2):584-95, 2007.
Hinman VF, and Davidson EH. System-level Properties Revealed by a Gene Regulatory Network Analysis of Pregastrular Specification in Sea Urchins. In ' Gastrulation'. Ed. C. Stern. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Cold Spring Habor, 2004.
Hinman VF and Davidson EH. Expression of a gene encoding a Gata transcription factor during embryogenesis of the starfish Asterina miniata. Gene Expression Patterns 3, 419-422, 2003.
Hinman VF and Davidson EH. Expression of AmKrox, a starfish ortholog of a sea urchin transcription factor essential for endomesodermal specification. Gene Expression Patterns 3, 423-426, 2003.
Hinman VF, Nguyen AT, Cameron RA and Davidson EH. Developmental gene regulatory network architecture across 500 MY of echinoderm evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100:13356-13361, 2003.
Hinman VF, O'Brien EK, Richards GS and Degnan BM. Expression of anterior hox genes during larval development of the gastropod Haliotis asinina. Evolution and Development, 5:508-521, 2003.