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Prof David Carter 


Molecular mechanisms of neuronal function

Fluorescent transgene expression in neurones

Fluorescent transgene expression in neurones

Research in my laboratory concerns the fundamental mechanisms, pre-, post-, and co-transcriptional that determine gene expression in neurones. Changes in the expression of particular genes occur in response to physiological and behavioural stimuli, and also during pathological states. Our aim is to understand the complex regulatory mechanisms that mediate these changes. We study particular model systems that permit the observation of dynamic changes in transcription factor complexes. This work involves the study of circadian rhythms of gene expression, and therefore relates to the understanding of biological timing mechanisms. We have studied the role of the AP-1 and Egr-1 transcription factors in detail but our work is now increasingly broadened to encompass genomic-level changes in gene expression (transcriptomics). Transcriptional profiling involves the use of DNA microarrays that can simultaneously measure the expression of thousands of genes.

Transcriptional profiling with microarrays

Transcriptional profiling with microarrays

In order to fully understand the functional interactions of multiple genes it is necessary to study neuronal regulation at the whole organism level. We make extensive use of genetic models and have generated many novel lines of transgenics in our laboratory. Recently we have designed novel genetic models that express a fluorescent protein (green fluorescent protein, GFP) under the control of the egr-1 promoter. These models give us new ways to observe and manipulate brain cells and, when combined with transcriptional profiling, can teach us about transcriptome variation between different groups of neurones. By designing transgenics with specific genetic alterations we hope to provide important insights into neuronal function, and ultimately neurological disease.

Circadian rhythm of transgene expression

Circadian rhythm of transgene expression

Collaborations

Professor V Crunelli, School of Biosciences,Cardiff University, UK

Dr DC Klein, NICHD, NIH, USA

Dr T Wells, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, UK