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Molecular Neurobiology Research Group

Author: From: Time: 2018/9/27 15:10:44 [Print]

Molecular Neurobiology Research Group


Team Members:

  1. Principle Investigator: Chen Jie-Guang, PhD (1995, Indiana University)

  2. Group StaffLi Xue, PhD, Xiao Jian, PhD, Tu Xiaomeng, Huang Baoshan

  3. Students:  Zhu Dan, Feng Yue, Si Yang, and Yan Meifang. 

Scope of Research Proposal

Our group starts on 2008 when Dr Jie-Guang Chen left Yale University and joined Wenzhen Medical University. Our research centers on in vivo molecular studies of development and disorders of projection neurons. By using gene expression analysis and in utero gene electroporation, our current research aims to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying the autism-related development disorders of projection neurons in the central nervous system including the cerebral cortex and neural retina. The development of projection neurons involves the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitors, migration of nascent neurons, and the growth and maturation of axon and dendrites.  Any disruption in this process will lead to neurological and or psychiatric diseases. 

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of conditions that onset early in childhood. The clinical features of autism include dyslexia, speech impairment, repeated stereotype behaviors, and often show abnormal visual function. Multiple transcription factors, including Tbr1, Foxp1, and Otx1, the key genes regulating the development of cerebral cortex, are involved in the incidence of autism. But how these genes affect autism is as yet unclear. With the support from the Natural Science Foundation, we are currently studying: 1. How Otx1 regulates the differentiation of neural progenitors, and the consequence of its mutation.2. What the autism-associated FOXP1 mutations will do to the in vivo development of cortical projection neurons. 3. If TBR1 mutations cause the aberrant development of neural retina given that TBR1 is one of the autism-associated genes expressing in the retinal ganglia cells. We will analyze the roles of these transcription factors and their autism-related mutants in the neural development.  Our studies will provide new understandings on the molecular and neurological bases of autism. For more information, please refer to our recent publications (J Biol Chem. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.001249, 2017; J Biol Chem. 291: 7661-7668, 2016; PLoS One 10:1-19, 2015; Neuroscience 285:139-54, 2015).

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