Members in the laboratory of Robert O. Messing investigate signaling pathways and circuits that regulate behavior in rodent models of addiction, anxiety, and depression. The long-term goal of this work is to identify drug targets for treating neuropsychiatric disorders. We use a variety of biochemical and electrophysiological techniques, which include gene targeting, RNA interference, expression of native and mutant signaling proteins in cell culture systems for biochemical and electrophysiological analysis, functional neuroanatomy using optogenetic and pharmacogenetic tools, and analysis of behavioral phenotypes in mice and rats.
Major contributions of the lab include determining that protein kinase C epsilon, protein kinase C delta, protein kinase M zeta, N-type voltage-dependent calcium channels, and the type 1 equilibrative nucleoside transporter regulate ethanol intoxication and self-administration in mice. In addition, we have discovered important roles for protein kinase C epsilon in promoting anxiety, nicotine self-administration, and inflammatory and neuropathy-induced pain. Our research on protein kinase C epsilon in particular has led to ongoing efforts to develop inhibitors of this enzyme as potential treatments for pain, anxiety, and addiction.
Current Research Support
Pharmacology & Toxicology
College of Pharmacy
The University of Texas
107 W. Dean Keeton
Austin, TX, USA
Email Address: pharmtox
Dr. Som Mukhopad-
hyay led the research team that focused on the gene SLC30A10 and its role as a "door opener" in helping to remove elevated levels of manganese from cells. The study was published in the Oct. 15, 2014 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
"Drugs, the Brain and Behavior" is co-authored by Dr. Carlton Erickson, the college's associate dean for research and graduate studies, and Dr. John Brick, executive director of Intoxikon International.
Andrea Gore is named to the SEBM Distinguished Scientist Award.