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Transgenics Section

Huaibin Cai, PhD, Chief

Dr. Cai’s lab focuses on studying the molecular, cellular, and circuit mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related disorders. They have generated a series of novel mouse genetic models to investigate the pathophysiological phenotypes of various PD-related genetic variations and test potential therapeutics (Lin et al., 2009; Lin et al., 2012). They are actively exploring the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of these genetic variations in vivo and in primary neuronal cultures using a variety of histology, electrophysiology, cell biology and biochemistry approaches (Parisiadou et al., 2014). Meanwhile, they also take advantage of newly developed RNA sequencing techniques to systematically identify molecular networks critical for the degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic (DA) neurons (Liu et al., 2014, Chen et al., 2020). In addition, they are keen to develop and utilize newly developed neuronal tracing, optogenetics, chemogenetics, and live recording/imaging tools to investigate the connectivity and functionality of the basal ganglion DA circuits that are preferentially affected in PD (Wu et al., 2019).

Portfolio/Research Areas

  • Neurodegenerative diseases/Neuroscience/Neurophysiology/Behavior/Molecular biology

Findings and Publications

Lin X, Parisiadou L, Gu XL, Wang L, Shim H, Sun L, Xie C, Long CX, Yang WJ, Ding J, Chen ZZ, Gallant PE, Tao-Cheng JH, Rudow G, Troncoso JC, Liu Z, Li Z, Cai H. Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 regulates the progression of neuropathology induced by Parkinson's-disease-related mutant alpha-synuclein. 2009 Neuron 64:807-827.

Lin X, Parisiadou L, Sgobio C, Liu G, Yu J, Sun L, Shim H, Gu XL, Luo J, Long CX, Ding J, Mateo Y, Sullivan PH, Wu LG, Goldstein DS, Lovinger D, Cai H. Conditional expression of Parkinson's disease-related mutant alpha-synuclein in the midbrain dopaminergic neurons causes progressive neurodegeneration and degradation of transcription factor nuclear receptor related 1. 2012 J Neurosci 32:9248-9264.

Liu G, Yu J, Ding J, Xie C, Sun L, Rudenko I, Zheng W, Sastry N, Luo J, Rudow G, Troncoso JC, Cai H. Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 defines and protects a nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuron subpopulation. 2014 J Clin Invest 124:3032-3046.

Parisiadou L, Yu J, Sgobio C, Xie C, Liu G, Sun L, Gu XL, Lin X, Crowley NA, Lovinger DM, Cai H. LRRK2 regulates synaptogenesis and dopamine receptor activation through modulation of PKA activity. 2014 Nat Neurosci.

Wu, J., Kung, J., Dong, J., Chang, L., Xie, C., Habib, A., Hawes, S., Yang, N., Chen, V., Liu, Z., et al. (2019). Distinct Connectivity and Functionality of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1a1-Positive Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons in Motor Learning. Cell Rep 28, 1167-1181 e1167.

Chen X, Xie C, Tian W, Sun L, Zeng W, Hawes S, Chang L, Kung J, Ding J, Chen S, Le W, Cai H (2020) Parkinson's disease-related Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 modulates nuclear morphology and genomic stability in striatal projection neurons during aging. Mol Neurodegener. 2020 Feb 19;15(1):12. doi: 10.1186/s13024-020-00360-0.

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