James M. Fadool, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biology and Neuroscience
A.B., Albion College, MI, 1985
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1992
PostDoc, The Whitney Laboratory, University of Florida
PostDoc, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University

Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
235 Biomedical Research Facility
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4340
TEL: 850-644-3550
E-MAIL: jfadool@bio.fsu.edu

Graduate Studies in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Staff & Students

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Our research goal is to identify fundamental mechanisms governing the development of the vertebrate central nervous system through systematic genetic and molecular analyses. We concentrate our efforts on the neural retina, the photosensitive lining of the back of the eye. Like many regions of the brain, the anatomical organization, biochemical processes and gene expression patterns in the retina are conserved in virtually all vertebrate species. Our hope is that an understanding of the pathways that regulate gene expression and ultimately cellular differentiation in the neural retina will aid in the identification and management of genetic disorders affecting the visual system such as retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

As one model of vertebrate development, we utilize the zebrafish (Danio rerio), a small fresh water teleost that is easily adapted genetic studies. Currently underway in our laboratory is a systematic screen of larval and adult zebrafish to uncover mutations in genes regulating eye development and visual system function. We have recovered numerous classes of mutations including several that affect retinal lamination, photoreceptor differentiation and survival, or the differentiation and clarity of the crystalline lens. These mutations provide a valuable resource to genetically dissect the biochemical pathways involved in the the affected tissue as well as providing valuable models of genetic defects affecting human vision. The characterization of the existing mutations and the search for new mutations are continuing in the laboratory.

Our second major area of investigation hopes to unlock fundamental mechanisms governing the orderly patterning of cells in the retina. Similar to the well characterized mosaic patterning of the photoreceptors in Drosophila, we recently discovered a mosaic organization to the photoreceptors in the zebrafish. Making use of our ability to generate transgenic zebrafish, we described the novel arrangement using transgenic animals expressing a green fluorescent (eGFP) under the control of a rod specific promoter (Dev Biol, 2003). The expression of eGFP can be observed in living embryos due to their optical clarity and external fertilization in combination with recent advances in microscopy and analysis tools. We continue to develop alternative transgenic strategies to address specific questions of neural development and patterning.

Transgenic Strategy for GFP Expression


Selected Publications

Fadool, J.M., Brockerhoff, S.E., Hyatt, G.A. and Dowling, J.E. (1997) Mutations affecting eye morphology in the developing zebrafish (Danio rerio). Dev. Genetics. 20:288-295. [View abstract]

Fadool, J.M., Hartl, D.L. and Dowling, J.E. (1998) Transposition of the mariner element from Drosophila mauritiana in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95:5182-5186. [View abstract]

McCune, A.R., Fuller, R.C., Aquilina, A.A., Dawley, R.M., Fadool, J.M., Houle, D., Travis, J., Kondrashov, A.S. (2002) A low genomic number of recessive lethals in natural populations of bluefin killifish and zebrafish. Science 296:2398-401. [View abstract]

Fadool, J.M. (2003) Development of a rod photoreceptor mosaic revealed in transgenic zebrafish. Dev. Biol. 258:277-290. [View abstract]

DeCarvalho, A.C., Cappendijk, S. and Fadool, J.M. (2004) Expression of the Pou domain transcription factor, Brn3b in the lateral line and retina of zebrafish. Dev. Dynamics 229:869-876. [View abstract]

Fuller, R.C., Carleton, K.L., Fadool, J.M., Spady, T.C., Travis, J. (2005) Genetic and environmental variation in the visual properties of bluefin killifish, Lucania goodei. J. Evol. Biol. 18:516-23. [View abstract]

Vihtelic T.S., Fadool, J.M., Thornton, K., Hyde, D.R., and Wistow, G. (2005) Expressed sequence tag analysis of zebrafish eye tissues for NEIBank. Mol Vision. 11:1083-1100. [View abstract]

Morris, A.C., Schroeter, E.H., Bilotta, J, Wong, R.O., and Fadool, J.M. (2005) Cone survival despite rod degeneration in transgenic zebrafish. Invest. Ophthalmol. Visual Sci. 46:4762-4771. [View abstract]

Stearns, G., Evangelista, M., Fadool, J.M., and Brockerhoff, S.E. (2007) A mutation in the cone-specific pde6 gene causes rapid cone photoreceptor degeneration in zebrafish. J Neurosci. 27:13866-74. [View abstract]

Morris, A.C., Scholz, T.L., Brockerhoff, S.E., and Fadool, J.M. (2008) Genetic dissection reveals two separate pathways for rod and cone regeneration in the teleost retina. Dev Neurobiol. 68:605-19. [View abstract]

GFP expression in Transgenic Zebrafish

Photoreceptor Cell Mosaic
eGFP Expression 80 hpf

Vector kindly provided by David Papermaster, UCONN
Department of Biological Science
Florida State University