James Marrs


Associate Professor

  • jmarrs@iupui.edu


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B. S. in Biology 1984.

University of Illinois at Chicago, Ph. D. in Biology 1991.

Stanford University School of Medicine, Postdoctoral training in epithelial cell biology, 1991-1994.

Current Research

My research laboratory uses zebrafish to study cell-to-cell junctional complexes (cadherin adhesion) and their role in developmental processes.  Cadherins are transmembrane proteins that mediate cell-to-cell adhesion within the adherens junctions, and cadherins regulate embryonic development by controling differentiation mechanisms, polarized cell behaviors (e. g., cell migration) and tissue organization.  We examine the functions of individual zebrafish cadherins during specific morphgenesis and differentiation events, particularly during eye and ear morphogenesis.

My laboratory also uses the zebrafish to model fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS; the consequences of prenatal ethanol exposure). Our experiments and those from other laboratories show that zebrafish is a useful model for mechanistic experiments, which should lead to a better understanding of this devastating birth defect syndrome.

Select Publications

Clendenon, S. G., S. Sarmah, Shah, B., Liu, Q., and J. A. Marrs. 2012. Zebrafish cadherin-11 participates in retinal differentiation and retinotectal axon projection during visual system development Developmental Dynamics 241: 442-454.

Liu, Q., M. R. Dalman, S. Sarmah, S. Chen, Y. Chen, A. K. Hurlbut, M. A. Spencer, L. Pancoe and J. A. Marrs. 2011. Cell Adhesion Molecule Cadherin-6 Function in Zebrafish Cranial and Lateral Line Ganglia Development. Developmental Dynamics 240: 1716-26.

Marrs, J. A., S. G. Clendenon, D. R. Ratcliffe, S. M. Fielding, Q. Liu and W. F. Bosron. 2010. Zebrafish fetal alcohol syndrome model: effects of ethanol are rescued by retinoic acid supplement.  Alcohol 44: 707-15.

Clendenon, S. G., Shah, B., Miller, C. A., Schmeisser, G., Walter, A., Gattone, V. H. Barald, K. F., Liu, Q. and J. A. Marrs. 2009. Cadherin-11 controls otolith assembly: evidence for extracellular cadherin activity. Developmental Dynamics 238: 1909-1922.

Lin, F., S. Chen, D. S. Sepich, J. R. Panizzi, S. G. Clendenon, J. A. Marrs, H. E. Hamm, and L. Solnica-Krezel. 2009. Galpha12/13 regulate epiboly by inhibiting E-cadherin activity and modulating the actin cytoskeleton. J. Cell Biol. 184: 909-921.

Liu, Q., J. A. Marrs, R. L. Londraville, and A. L. Wilson. 2008. Cadherin-7 function in zebrafish development. Cell Tissue Res. 334: 37-45.

Liu, Q., R. Londraville, J. A. Marrs, A. L. Wilson, T. Mbimba, T. Murakami, F. Kubota, W. Zheng, D. G. Fatkins. 2008. Cadherin-6 function in zebrafish retinal development. Dev Neurobiol. 68: 1107-1122.

Wilson, A. L., Y.-c. Shen, S.G. Babb-Clendenon, J. Rostedt, B. Liu, K. F. Barald, J. A. Marrs, and Q. Liu.  2007.  Cadherin-4 Plays a Role in the Development of Zebrafish Cranial Ganglia and Lateral Line System. Developmental Dynamics 236: 893-902.

Liu, Q., R. A. Frey, S. G. Babb-Clendenon, B. Liu, J. Francl, A. L. Wilson, J. A. Marrs, and D. L. Stenkamp.  2007.  Differential expression of photoreceptor-specific genes in the retina of a zebrafish cadherin2 mutant glass onion and zebrafish cadherin4 morphants.  Exp Eye Res. 84: 163-175.

Gopalakrishnan, S., M. A. Hallett, S. Atkinson, and J. A. Marrs.  2007.  aPKC-Par complex dysfunction and tight junction disassembly in renal epithelial cells during ATP-depletion. Am. J. Physiol. (Cell Physiol.) 292: C1094-C1102.

Babb-Clendenon S. G., Y.-c. Shen, Q. Liu, K. E. Turner, M. S. Mills, G. W. Cook, C. A. Miller, V. H. Gattone II, K. F. Barald, and J. A. Marrs.  2006.  Cadherin-2 participates in the morphogenenesis of the zebrafish inner ear. J. Cell Sci. 119: 5169-5177.

S. R. Young, C, Mumaw, J. A. Marrs, and D. G. Skalnik.  2006.  Antisense Targeting of CXXC Finger Protein 1 Inhibits Genomic Cytosine Methylation and Primitive Hematopoiesis in Zebrafish.  J. Biol. Chem. 281: 37034-37044.

Liu, B., Duff, R. J., Londraville, R. L., Marrs, J. A. and Q. Liu. 2006. Cloning and expression analysis of cadherin7 in the central nervous system of the embryonic zebrafish. Gene Expr Patterns. 7: 15-22.

Liu, Q., Duff, R. J., Liu, B., Wilson, A. L., Babb-Clendenon, S. G., Franci, J. and J. A. Marrs. 2006. Expression of cadherin10, a type II classic cadherin gene, in the nervous system of the embryonic zebrafish. Gene Expr Patterns. 6: 703-710.

Babb, S. G., Kotradi, S. M., Shah, B., Chiappini-Williamson, C., Bell, L. N., Schmeiser, G., Chen, E., Liu, Q. and J. A. Marrs.  2005. Zebrafish R-cadherin (Cdh4) controls visual system development and differentiation. Developmental Dynamics 233: 930-945.

Liu, Q., J. A. Marrs, E.  Azodi, A. E. Kerstetter, S. G. Babb, and L. Hashmi. 2004.  Differential expression of cadherins in the developing and adult zebrafish olfactory system. J Comp Neurol. 478: 269-281.

Babb, S. G. and J. A. Marrs.  2004.  E-cadherin regulates cell movements and tissue formation in early zebrafish embryos.  Developmental Dynamics 230: 263-277.

Review Articles:

Marrs, J. A.  2010. Branching morphogenesis: Rac signaling “PIX” tubulogenesis. Focus on “Pak1 regulates branching morphogenesis in 3D MDCK cell culture by a PIX and beta-1-integrin-dependent mechanism”. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 299: C7-10.

Marrs, J. A. and Liu, Q.  2010.  Cadherin adhesion functions revealed in zebrafish.  In: K. Yoshida, Ed. Molecular and Functional Diversities of Cadherin/Protocadherin.  Research Signpost, Kerala, India.  pp. 213-229.

School of Science Biology Chemistry & Chemical Biology Computer & Information Science Earth Sciences Mathematical Sciences Physics Psychology