Jean-Paul Vincent: Projects

Modulation of Wnt signaling by intracellular trafficking and extracellular components

Wnts form a class of signalling proteins that orchestrate cell fate decisions, growth and stem cell maintenance during development and adulthood. Misregulation of Wnt signalling is associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration.

We investigate the mechanisms that modulate the production, spread and activity of this important signal. Some of our recent achievements include uncovering the role of retrograde transport in Wnt secretion, characterising the role of endocytosis in Wnt signalling, demonstrating that Wnts do not necessarily need to spread and showing that Notum suppresses Wnt activity by enzymatically removing an essential lipid moiety.

Elimination for defective/mispecified cells

We are exploring how defective/weak cells are detected and eliminated from tissues. For example, loss of cell polarity or loss of cell adhesion leads to extensive apoptosis. Also, abnormal differences in growth rates between neighbouring cells lead to the death of slow growing cells.

We want to decipher the mechanisms that link basic features such as cell polarity, adhesion, growth rate and cell fate to the apoptotic machinery. We been focusing particularly on the role of JNK signaling and on the transcriptional activation of the pro-apoptotic genes hid and reaper. We have recently shown that Shnurri, a mediator of Dpp signaling protects the dorsal epidermis from JNK-mediated activation of reaper.

Additional areas of investigation include: Growth stimulation and termination by developmental signals and mechanical constraints; The range of developmental signals (Wingless, Dpp and Hedgehog); Notum as a potential drug target.

Jean-Paul Vincent
+44 (0)20 379 62174

  • Qualifications and history
  • 1982: Ph.D. in Biophysics, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • 1987: Post doctoral fellow, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  • 1993: Group Leader, Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK
  • 1997: Group Leader, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK
  • 2015: Group Leader, the Francis Crick Institute, London