Joseph G. Kunkel


A.B., Columbia College, 1964
Ph.D., Case-Western Reserve U., 1968

'68 Case-Western Reserve U.
'68-'70 Yale University
'78-'79 U. California, Berkeley
'86-'87 U. Berne, Switzerland
'93-'94 Marine Biological Labs, Woods Hole, MA

Pattern Formation and Development

Changing patterns of morphological structure, appearance of new macromolecular entities and patterns of localization of macromolecules are hallmarks of the developmental process. In my lab, the expression pattern, structure and function of storage proteins during animal development is a major focus. The abundance and large size of storage proteins make them attractive models for studying cellular localization phenomena. Many storage proteins are synthesized in one tissue, secreted into circulation and subsequently taken up by another tissue for utilization. This provides abundant questions of cellular and subcellular mechanisms of spacial and temporal patterns. Several of these proteins have homologues throughout the animal kingdom and the evolution of their structure and regulation interests us. The massive amount of storage proteins that are produced suggests that they are limiting factors in the survival of animals. We have begun a study of natural variation in amounts of stored proteins in eggs and serum of economically important animals. One species, the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (Lepidoptera), causes substantial deforestation in North America. Heterogeneity of stored reserves in the egg may be an overwintering strategy for survival in this species. In winter flounder, Pleuronectes americanus, embryonic utilization of egg proteins may provide a means to monitor normal and abnormal development during early embryogenesis in this bottom feeding organism which lives in the estuaries adjacent to sources of pollution. In Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, we are examining the alarming trend toward early maturation that is evident in our local population on Georges Bank. We also explore the cellular basis of pattern formation in oocytes of the cockroaches Blattella germanica and Periplaneta americana and the amphibian, Xenopus laevis with our studies of ion flux during early development. The evolutionary consequences of pattern regulation are being studied in relation to tetrapod body plan and insect wing venation. Neutral aspects of wing venation are being used to measure phylogenetic and population differences among insects. The sexual dimorphism of Drosophila melanogaster wings is being used to study the genetic control of subtle morphology.

Selected Publications:

Wilson AC, JG Kunkel and JS Wyles. 1984. Morphological distance: An encounter between two perspectives in evolutionary biology. Evolution 38:1156-1159.

Kunkel JG. 1986. Dorsoventral currents are associated with vitellogenesis in cockroach ovarioles. Ionic Currents in Development, edited by R. Nuccitelli, Alan R. Liss, pp165-172.

Bowdan E & JG Kunkel. 1990. Patterns of ionic currents around the developing oocyte of the German Cockroach, Blattella germanica. Developmental Biology 137:266-275.

Karpells ST, DE Leonard and JG Kunkel. 1990. Cyclic fluctuations in arylphorin, the principal serum storage protein of Lymantria dispar, indicate multiple roles in development. Insect Biochem. 20:73-82.

Telfer WH and JG Kunkel. 1991. The function and evolution of insect storage proteins. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 36:205-228.

Kunkel JG. 1991. Models of pattern formation in insect oocytes. In Vivo 5:443-456.

Zhang Y and JG Kunkel. 1992. High abundance calmodulin from Blattella germanica eggs binds to vitellin subunits. Insect Biochem. 22:293-304.

Zhang Y and JG Kunkel. 1992. Program of F-actin in the follicular epithelium during oogenesis of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica. Tissue Cell 24:905-917.

Zhang Y and JG Kunkel. 1994. Most egg calmodulin is a follicle cell contribution to the cytoplasm of the Blattella germanica oocyte. Developmental Biology 161:513-521.

Iyengar AR and JG Kunkel. 1995. Follicle cell calmodulin in Blattella germanica: Transcript accumulation during vitellogenesis is regulated by juvenile hormone. Developmental Biology 170:314-320.

Kunkel JG and E Faszewski. 1995. Pattern of potassium ion and proton currents in the ovariole of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana, indicates future embryonic polarity. Biological Bulletin 189:197-198.

Hartling RC, JJ Pereira and JG Kunkel. 1997. Characterization of a heat-stable fraction of lipovitellin and development of an immunoassay for vitellogenin and yolk protein in winter flounder (Pleuronectes americanus) J. Exp. Zool. 278:156-166.
(Last revised September 1997 by