DISC1 AND SIGNALING PATHWAY INVOLVED IN GUIDING C. elegans MOTOR AXONS
A mutation in the Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene is highly associated with schizophrenia and other major human mental diseases. My laboratory has discovered that DISC1 has a role in axon guidance in both the C. elegans and mouse. We have since been identifying signaling pathways involving DISC1 and investigating how it affects axon guidance.
Approach: We use advanced molecular genetic techniques to identify signaling pathways involving DISC1, generate transgenic C. elegans lines to study the role of DISC1 and other key signaling proteins during axon guidance of developing motor neurons, and generate transgenic mouse lines for further comparative in vivo studies.
Impact: The generation of transgenic C. elegans and mouse lines expands the repertoire of disease models to study human neurodevelopmental disorders and enables better understanding of signaling pathways particularly susceptible to disease. Furthermore, these disease models allow identification of therapeutic drug targets and can also serve as a screen for new drugs.