GABAergic Neurons

Males and females of most species display pronounced sexual dimorphisms.  These extend to the nervous systems and include distinct anatomical and functional features, which are ultimately manifested in behavioral differences (Kandel, 2000).  It is essential to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for generating and maintaining these sex-specific differences.  We are developing a system in which these mechanisms can be studied in a framework of a well-established model species and a well-characterized group of neurons.

The GABAergic neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans have been studied in hermaphrodites (these animals are genetically equivalent to females of other species), but no in males.  We have discovered that the GABAergic system of C.elegans males differs form that of hermaphrodites in two important aspects.  First, a number of neurons that are unique to males utilize GABA as a neurotransmitter.  Second, several neurons that are common to both sexes utilize GABA in males, but not hermaphrodites.  Based on these preliminary findings, we propose a series of experiments to document the extent of sex-specific dimorphism in the GABAergic system of C. Elegans and to investigate the molecular mechanisms responsible for these differences.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…