RNA processing, transport and local translation have been demonstrated to play increasingly important roles in all areas of biology, including the organization and function of the nervous system. Our long-term research goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying RNA regulation in processes ranging from neural stem cells division and differentiation to neuronal polarity and synapse remodeling during normal development and in disease states. We approach these problems through studies of RNA localization and translation as controlled by Fragile X protein (FMRP) and candidate interacting genes, including the tumor suppressor Lgl. Another RNA binding protein of interest in the laboratory is TDP-43, which has recently been linked to a number of neurodegenerative disorders including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and FrontoTemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD). We are also studying FMRP's striated muscle specific homolog, FXR1, to elucidate RNA based mechanisms in the heart. To address these important biological problems our laboratory is using a combination of genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches in Drosophila, primary neurons and mouse models.

 
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