On of Dr. Leblanc’s missions here at Merrimack College is to maintain a strong research program for our undergraduate students. She thinks this is important for giving students exposure and hands on experience. On the outside of vertebrates there appears to be a remarkable symmetry but deep down there is much asymmetry due to specialized cells and tissues (groups of specialized cells working in unison) to carry out necessary functions in the body. While she was on sabbatical a few years ago she performed an experiment to determine the role of myosin 1D in the development and asymmetry/tissue specialization in vertebrates. While her colleagues at Beth Israel recognized that it had an important role in development of vertebrates they would be shocked by her results of exactly how crucial it was for cell development and specialization.
Dr. Leblanc experimented on a very plentiful and quick breeding vertebrate that would provide easy data, the frog. Frog eggs were used for this experiment. Myosin in the bodies of vertebrates attaches and detaches from actin filaments and act as transporters delivering the correct vesicles to the right cells at the right time. To see what the myosin 1 protein’s role in the cell is it is easier to analyze the effect on the cells and organism. All cells in an organism contain the same DNA but it is just a matter of what genes are turned on and off in that cell that determines the structure and function of it. Therefore it can be easy to determine the effects of a certain molecule such as myosin by finding out what cellular functions work without the aid of myosin 1 and what functions are inhibited by its absence. Myosin 1D could be located from non-pigmented frog embryos. After injections that would inhibit the effectiveness of Myosin 1D, there was significant cell retardation so it was concluded that it was specifically very crucial in cellular development and specialization.