Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

Dr. Daria Onichtchouk

Dr. Daria Onichtchouk

Developmental Biology Department,
Biologie I, University of Freiburg

+49 761 203 2595


Gastrulation in vertebrates is a conserved process, which involves transition from cellular pluripotency to early precursors of germ layers. Pluripotent cell is initially developmentally unrestricted, and capable of realizing multiple cell fates. Pluripotency control in development is far from being understood. Our recent studies in zebrafish suggest that the transcription factors controlling pluripotency in mammalian ES cells, Pou5f1/Oct4 and factors of the SoxB1 group, are critically involved in large-scale coordination of gene expression during gastrulation. A significant number of evolutionary conserved target genes of Pou5f1 in zebrafish are also involved in stem-cell circuit in mammalian ES cell cultures. I am interested in further understanding the evolution and functioning of transcriptional networks of pluripotency, using zebrafish model system.


10 selected publications

  • Maternal Nanog is required for the zebrafish embryo architecture and for cell viability during gastrulation.
    Veil M, Schaechtle MA, Gao M, Kirner VIN, Buryanova L, Grethen R, Onichtchouk D (2018).
    Development. 145(1).
  • Evolution and functions of Oct4 homologs in non-mammalian vertebrates.
    Onichtchouk D. (2016).
    Biochim Biophys Acta. 1859(6):770-9.
  • Zygotic genome activators, developmental timing, and pluripotency.
    Onichtchouk D, Driever W (2016).
    Curr Top Dev Biol. 116:273-97.
  • DANIO-CODE: Toward an Encyclopedia of DNA Elements in Zebrafish.
    Tan H, Onichtchouk D, Winata C (2016).
    Zebrafish. 13(1): 54–60.
  • A Pou5f1/Oct4 dependent Klf17, Klf2a, and Klf2b regulatory sub-network contributes to EVL and ectoderm development during zebrafish embryogenesis.
    Kotkamp K, Mössner R, Allen A, Onichtchouk D, Driever W (2014).
    Dev Biol. 385(2):433-47
  • Pou5f1 transcription factor controls zygotic gene activation in vertebrates.
    Leichsenring M, Maes J, Mössner R, Driever W, Onichtchouk D (2013).
    Science. 341(6149):1005-9.
    Paper was selected for F1000Prime
  • Pou5f1-dependent EGF expression controls e-cadherin endocytosis, cell adhesion, and zebrafish epiboly movements.
    Song S, Eckerle S, Onichtchouk D, Marrs JA, Nitschke R, Driever W (2013) .
    Dev Cell. 24(5):486-501.
  • Pou5f1/Oct4 in pluripotency control: insights from zebrafish.
    Onichtchouk D (2012).
    Genesis. 50(2):75-85.
  • Pou5f1 contributes to dorsoventral patterning by positive regulation of vox and modulation of fgf8a expression.
    Belting HG, Wendik B, Lunde K, Leichsenring M, Mössner R, Driever W, Onichtchouk D (2011).
    Dev Biol. 356(2):323-36.
  • Zebrafish Pou5f1-dependent transcriptional networks in temporal control of early development.
    Onichtchouk D, Geier F, Polok B, Messerschmidt DM, Moessner R, Wendik B, Song S, Taylor V, Timmer J, Driever W (2010).
    Mol Syst Biol. 6:35