[orange frog]

Dr. Richard Nuccitelli

Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Office: 3163 Life Sciences Addition
Phone: (916) 752-3152
Fax: (916) 752-7522
Email: rlnuccitelli@ucdavis.edu
Fields of Interest:
There are two main research projects underway in the laboratory: 1) Investigations into Xenopus laevis egg activation mechanisms; and 2) Studying the role of endogenous electric currents in wound healing. Research:
Dr. Nuccitelli uses fluorescence ratio-imaging, confocal microscopy and electrophysiological techniques, such as patch clamp, to study the mechanism of egg activation and directed cell motility. Sperm-induced egg activation stimulates changes in intracellular Ca2+ and pH in frog eggs which can be monitored in living cells with ion-sensitive dyes combined with fluorescence ratio-imaging and confocal imaging. The lab has demonstrated that inositol lipid hydrolysis is required for sperm-induced Ca2+ release and has identified a sperm surface protein that is required for sperm-egg binding. This protein binds to the animal hemisphere plasma membrane and is now being used to purify the egg's sperm receptor. An eight amino acid disintegrin domain from that protein will activate eggs when applied locally to the animal hemisphere, suggesting that there is an integrin involved in sperm-egg binding that might stimulate a [Ca2+]i increase.

A second major goal is to describe the signal transduction mechanism used by neural crest cells and keratinocytes as they actively crawl towards the negative pole of physiological electric fields. These cells can detect fields as low as 7 mV/mm and respond quickly by directed translocation. Such responses are important for both embryonic development and wound healing. Thus far it is clear that Ca2+ influx is an important component of the response and that protein kinases are involved. Since the lateral electric field generated by skin wounds is the earliest signal that wounding has occurred, it is likely that this galvanotactic response of keratinocytes is the first step in wound healing. Measurement of fields near wounds in humans is underway to test this hypothesis and to aid in the design of the appropriate electrical stimulus to enhance wound healing.

Recent References:

Nuccitelli, R., (Editor). (1994) A Practical Guide to the Study of Ca2+ in Living Cells. Methods in Cell Biology, vol. 40, Academic Press, San Diego.
Nishimura, K.Y., Isseroff, R.R. and Nuccitelli, R. (1996) Human keratinocytes migrate to the negative pole in direct current electric fields comparable to those measured in mammalian wounds, J. Cell Sci., 109:199-207.
Sheridan, D.M., Isseroff, R.R. and Nuccitelli, R. (1996) Imposition of a physiological DC electric field alters the migratory response of human keratinocytes on extracellular matrix molecules. J. Inv. Dermatol., 106:642-646.
Snow, P., Yim, D.L., Leibow, J., Saini, S. and Nuccitelli, R. (1996) Fertilization stimulates an increase in inositol trisphosphate and inositol lipid levels in Xenopus eggs. Develop. Biol., 180:108-118.
Meizel, S., Turner, K.O. and Nuccitelli, R. (1997) Progesterone triggers a wave of increased free calcium during the human sperm acrosome reaction. Develop. Biol., 182:67-75.
Shilling, F.M., Krätzschmar, J., Cai, H., Weskamp, G., Gayko, U., Leibow, J., Myles, D.G., Nuccitelli, R. and Blobel, C.P. (1997) Identification of metalloprotease/disintegrins in Xenopus laevis testis with a potential role in fertilization. Develop. Biol., 186:155-164

  • BIS 104: Regulation of Cell Function.

  • MCB 251. Biology of Fertilization (3) I. Nuccitelli, Meizel, Clark, Hedrick Lecture--2 hours; term paper. Prerequisite: Biological Sciences 104 or the equivalent, and consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years. Not open to students who have received credit for Zoology 225.

  • 200A. Current Techniques in Cell Biology (2) I. Nuccitelli Lecture--2 hours. Prerequisite: graduate standing; Biological Sciences 104 and course 141 or the equivalent courses. (Same course as Cell and Developmental Biology 200.) Not open to students who have received credit for Zoology 200. (Former course Zoology 200.) (S/U grading only.)

  • 151L. Advanced Developmental Biology (4) II. Erickson, Natzle, Jeffery, Nuccitelli Lecture--2 hours; laboratory--6 hours; written report. Prerequisite: courses 150, 150L; Biological Sciences 103.

    Exciting Projects:

    Excites was a grant program that united many sources into a three-year leadership program for K-6 science teachers. Over 75 teachers received training in life, earth and physical sciences. Sixteen school districts had leadership teams as participants. The area served by the grant roughly covers a 50-mile circle centered at the California State Capitol. Read about the project from the Yolo school district's point of view!

    Curriculum Vitae

    Page created April 29, 1997 by Net.Spider Productions.
    Last updated August 15th, 1997.