Conserved Protein Networks That Regulate Cell Communication
Department of Pharmacology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
410B Robinson Research Building (RRB)
23rd Avenue, South at Pierce
(615) 875-5635 (office)
My laboratory focuses on understanding how integrins regulate monoamine signaling through the coordination of neuronal transporters and receptors at the presynaptic membrane. We utilize combined biochemical, pharmacological and behavioral techniques to study how these macromolecular complexes influence drug response and behavior. Currently we are focusing on integrin aVb3 regulation of serotonin and dopamine transporters through direct protein-protein interactions. A major goal of the lab is to assess how genetic alterations in integrins influence neuronal function and structure associated with mood disorders and autism. In close collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. James Sutcliffe, we study the functional modifications of integrin coding variants found in autistic patients. Integrin functional characterization includes heterologous expression of each variant and cell attachment and migration. Co-expression with serotonin transporters and receptors reveal how integrins influence serotonin homeostasis. These studies will reveal whether cell adhesion proteins, in addition to control cell migration, also modify 5-HT signaling. Our unique perspective in studying genetic interactions at the protein levels will allow us to identify protein networks associated with autism.
For more information, please visit the lab website.