Luis F. Parada
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Election Year: 2011
Primary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Membership Type: Member
My laboratory studies the signaling pathways that control vertebrate neural development and that go awry in tumorigenesis. One focus has been the Trk family of transmembrane RTK receptors for the neurotrophin ligands. Using knockout mutations in mice for the genes encoding the neurotrophins: BDNF, NT3, and NT4/5, as well as the TrkA and TrkB receptors, we studied the essential nature of the neurotrophins and their receptors in the survival of early neurons and more complex phenotypes in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Conditional knockout technology allowed for more precise analysis of neurotrophin function in the CNS, demonstrating a role in development, synaptic plasticity and behavior. These models also proved useful for studying neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, and we are currently investigating the role of hippocampal neurogenesis in antidepressant response.