For many years, the Pringle laboratory has exploited the awesome power of yeast as a genetically tractable model eukaryote to investigate fundamental problems in cell and developmental biology such as the mechanisms of cell polarization and of cytokinesis. This work continues, but we are now also applying the model-system approach to studies of the cellular and molecular biology of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis (which is critical to the lives of reef-building corals). To this end, we are using the small sea anemone Aiptasia pallida, which has huge advantages over corals as an experimental organism. Some of our studies involve collaboration with coral biologists in which we try to connect our laboratory studies to observations made on corals in the field.
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