We are interested in studying the development of nervous system at the molecular level and with special emphasis on the (1) modification of RNA transcript by RNA editing and (2) localization of mRNA to the growth cone.
We are looking for students intend to seek training on basic neuroscience, development, genetics and molecular biology.
Model systems: zebrafish and cultured rat hippocampal neuron
(1) How does RNA editing affect the development of zebrafish? Many neurological disorders are associated with altered A-to-I RNA editing activity.? Zebrafish with reducing RNA editing activity displays developmental defects in the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as cranial cartilages.? We have demonstrated that reducing the Q/R editing of AMPA receptor GluR2 is responsible for neuronal death, reduce neuronal population and abnormal function of neural crest cells.
(2) How are mRNAs localized to the growth cone of axon? Message RNAs and protein translational machinery are present in neuronal processes, axons and dendrites.? Local translation of mRNAs is believed to take parts in the growth of axon/dendrites and the formation of synaptic plasticity. We have identified several transcripts and proved, by in situ hybridization, located/enriched in the growth cone and axonal shafts.