News item posted on 2017-05-02

Research Spotlight - Teru Nakagawa and Chuck Sanders

CSB Researcher Teru Nakagawa, Ph.D., has received a two-year Brain and Behavior Research Foundation grant to continue his studies of the molecular keystones of autism and other brain disorders. He is one of 40 scientists to receive 2017 NARSAD Independent Investigator grants from the foundation formerly known as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

The NARSAD grant will support studies of GSG1L, a membrane protein and component of the AMPA receptor that was discovered in Dr. Nakagawa’s laboratory in 2012, and which has been linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). His research may lead to the development of novel drugs to treat ASD and other brain disorders.

Read the complete article online at VUMC Reporter site.

CSB Investigator Chuck Sanders, Ph.D., and former Vanderbilt graduate student, Catherine Deatherage, Ph.D., are leading a research team to solve the molecular structure of the corresponding region of Notch protein, to look for differences that might guide the development of selective inhibitors of gamma-secretase action.

Their research, reported in Science Advances, suggests that the way the Notch region is shaped and the way it interacts with the membrane is distinctly different from APP and, in contrast to APP, the Notch region does not bind cholesterol. The findings provide hope that it might be possible to develop compounds that selectively interact with either of the proteins and/or with gamma-secretase in a way that inhibits the APP pathway but leaves the Notch pathway alone.

Deatherage is now a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Other Vanderbilt investigators who contributed to the research included Zhenwei Lu, Ph.D., Brett Kroncke, Ph.D., Sirui Ma, Jarrod Smith, Ph.D., and Markus Voehler, Ph.D.

Read the complete article online at VUMC Reporter site.

Author: Karen D. Davis