Application of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology to Reveal the Role of Genetics in Neuroscientific Systems

Binder, Daniel Richard, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Hill, David, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

With the advent of molecular cloning and manipulation, investigators have emphasized the role that genetics plays in the regulation of all biological systems. The purpose of this presentation is to assess the role of genetic regulation in two distinct neuroscientific fields of research using advanced modern molecular biological techniques. In the first study presented, transcriptional regulation of the amiloride -sensitive epithelial sodium charmel subunit genes in rat fungiform taste buds during development is characterized using Real - Time PCR. Nucleocytoplasmic transport of the corresponding transcripts is also investigated as a source of potential cellular regulation. . The results suggest a lack of transcriptional regulation of cellular function in the developing sodium gustatory response. The second study is an investigation of mitochondrial genetics in the pathogenesis of two neuropsychiatric disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The determination of a mitochondrial genetic component to these disorders is accomplished using a modern transgenic cell culture technique, the development of cybrids. The results of this study suggest a likelihood of sequential abnormalities in mitochondrial DNA isolated from platelets of schizophrenic, but not bipolar individuals. In both studies, the importance of considering the entire cascade of cellular events, from nucleotide sequence to protein function, is discussed in terms of potential sites of regulation.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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