Beyond Neurotransmission: Exploring Roles for Synaptic Dopaminylation in Drug-induced Plasticity

2017 Seed Grant
Ian Maze, Ph.D.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Substance use disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness that affects millions of individuals worldwide; however, few effective treatment options for substance abuse and addiction exist. Here, employing a unique combination of biochemical, molecular and behavioral approaches, we examine a highly novel role for the neurotransmitter dopamine in the direct regulation of protein function at reward circuitry synapses, processes that likely contribute to addictive behaviors. This pilot proposal therefore aims to transformatively integrate expertise from multiple disciplines (e.g., chromatin biochemistry, neuroepigenetics and behavioral neuroscience) to begin characterizing so-called protein “dopaminylation” in the central nervous system, as well as to elucidate its potential role in compulsive cocaine seeking. The overarching goal of this work is thus to identify novel molecular underpinnings of life-long addiction that will allow for the development of more effective therapeutic interventions.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…