P J Whiting

Merck, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, United States

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Publications (127)546.3 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs) upregulated in the glial scar inhibit axon regeneration via their sulphated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Chondroitin 6-sulphotransferase-1 (C6ST-1) is upregulated after injury leading to an increase in 6-sulphated GAG. In this study, we ask if this increase in 6-sulphated GAG is responsible for the increased inhibition within the glial scar, or whether it represents a partial reversion to the permissive embryonic state dominated by 6-sulphated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Using C6ST-1 knockout mice (KO), we studied post-injury changes in chondroitin sulphotransferase (CSST) expression and the effect of chondroitin 6-sulphates on both central and peripheral axon regeneration. After CNS injury, wild-type animals (WT) showed an increase in mRNA for C6ST-1, C6ST-2 and C4ST-1, but KO did not upregulate any CSSTs. After PNS injury, while WT upregulated C6ST-1, KO showed an upregulation of C6ST-2. We examined regeneration of nigrostriatal axons, which demonstrate mild spontaneous axon regeneration in the WT. KO showed many fewer regenerating axons and more axonal retraction than WT. However, in the PNS, repair of the median and ulnar nerves led to similar and normal levels of axon regeneration in both WT and KO. Functional tests on plasticity after the repair also showed no evidence of enhanced plasticity in the KO. Our results suggest that the upregulation of 6-sulphated GAG after injury makes the extracellular matrix more permissive for axon regeneration, and that the balance of different CSs in the microenvironment around the lesion site is an important factor in determining the outcome of nervous system injury.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e21499. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Non-selective benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, interact with equivalent affinity and agonist efficacy at GABA(A) receptors containing either an alpha1, alpha2, alpha3 or alpha5 subunit. However, which of these particular subtypes are responsible for the anticonvulsant effects of diazepam remains uncertain. In the present study, we examined the ability of diazepam to reduce pentylenetetrazoLe (PTZ)-induced and maximal electroshock (MES)-induced seizures in mice containing point mutations in single (alpha1H101R, alpha2H101R or alpha5H105R) or multiple (alpha125H-->R) alpha subunits that render the resulting GABA(A) receptors diazepam-insensitive. Furthermore, the anticonvulsant properties of diazepam, the alpha1- and alpha3-selective compounds zolpidem and TP003, respectively, and the alpha2/alpha3 preferring compound TP13 were studied against PTZ-induced seizures. In the transgenic mice, no single subtype was responsible for the anticonvulsant effects of diazepam in either the PTZ or MES assay and neither the alpha3 nor alpha5 subtypes appeared to confer anticonvulsant activity. Moreover, whereas the alpha1 and alpha2 subtypes played a modest role with respect to the PTZ assay, they had a negligible role in the MES assay. With respect to subtype-selective compounds, zolpidem and TP003 had much reduced anticonvulsant efficacy relative to diazepam in both the PTZ and MES assays whereas TP13 had high anticonvulsant efficacy in the PTZ but not the MES assay. Taken together, these data not only indicate a role for alpha2-containing GABA(A) receptors in mediating PTZ and MES anticonvulsant activity but also suggest that efficacy at more than one subtype is required and that these subtypes act synergistically.
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 07/2007; 21(4):384-91. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The receptor tyrosine kinase product of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene has been implicated in oncogenesis as a product of several chromosomal translocations, although its endogeneous role in the hematopoietic and neural systems has remained poorly understood. We describe that the generation of animals homozygous for a deletion of the ALK tyrosine kinase domain leads to alterations in adult brain function. Evaluation of adult ALK homozygotes (HOs) revealed an age-dependent increase in basal hippocampal progenitor proliferation and alterations in behavioral tests consistent with a role for this receptor in the adult brain. ALK HO animals displayed an increased struggle time in the tail suspension test and the Porsolt swim test and enhanced performance in a novel object-recognition test. Neurochemical analysis demonstrates an increase in basal dopaminergic signalling selectively within the frontal cortex. Altogether, these results suggest that ALK functions in the adult brain to regulate the function of the frontal cortex and hippocampus and identifies ALK as a new target for psychiatric indications, such as schizophrenia and depression, with an underlying deregulated monoaminergic signalling.Keywords: ALK, dopamine, neurogenesis
    Neuropsychopharmacology 05/2007; 33(3):685-700. · 8.68 Impact Factor
  • Keith A. Wafford, Paul J. Whiting
    03/2007; , ISBN: 9780470101001
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    ABSTRACT: Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a schizophrenia risk gene associated with cognitive deficits in both schizophrenics and the normal ageing population. In this study, we have generated a network of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) around DISC1. This has been achieved by utilising iterative yeast-two hybrid (Y2H) screens, combined with detailed pathway and functional analysis. This so-called 'DISC1 interactome' contains many novel PPIs and provides a molecular framework to explore the function of DISC1. The network implicates DISC1 in processes of cytoskeletal stability and organisation, intracellular transport and cell-cycle/division. In particular, DISC1 looks to have a PPI profile consistent with that of an essential synaptic protein, which fits well with the underlying molecular pathology observed at the synaptic level and the cognitive deficits seen behaviourally in schizophrenics. Utilising a similar approach with dysbindin (DTNBP1), a second schizophrenia risk gene, we show that dysbindin and DISC1 share common PPIs suggesting they may affect common biological processes and that the function of schizophrenia risk genes may converge.
    Molecular Psychiatry 02/2007; 12(1):74-86. · 14.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Selective antagonism of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) 2B subunit containing receptors has been suggested to have potential therapeutic application for multiple CNS disorders. The amino terminal NR2B residues 1 to 282 were found to be both necessary and sufficient for the binding and function of highly NR2B subunit specific antagonists like ifenprodil and CP-101,606. Using a genetic approach in mice, we successfully replaced the murine NR2B gene function by "knocking-in" (KI) a chimeric human NR2A/B cDNA containing the minimal domain abolishing ifenprodil binding into the endogenous NR2B locus. Patch-clamp recording from hippocampal cultures of the NR2B KI mice demonstrated that their NMDA receptors have reduced sensitivity to both ifenprodil and CP-101,606, as predicted, but also have a lower affinity for glycine. The NR2B KI mice exhibited normal locomotor activity making this ifenprodil-insensitive mouse model a valuable tool to test the specificity of NR2B selective antagonists in vivo.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 10/2006; 33(1):47-56. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GABAergic transmission regulates the activity of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in the preoptic area/hypothalamus that control the onset of puberty and the expression of reproductive behaviours. One of the hallmarks of illicit use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) is disruption of behaviours under neuroendocrine control. GnRH neurons are among a limited population of cells that express high levels of the epsilon-subunit of the GABAA receptor. To better understand the actions of AAS on neuroendocrine mechanisms, we have characterized modulation of GABAA receptor-mediated currents in mouse native GnRH neurons and in heterologous cells expressing recombinant alpha2beta3epsilon-receptors. GnRH neurons exhibited robust currents in response to millimolar concentrations of GABA and a picrotoxin (PTX)-sensitive, bicuculline-insensitive current that probably arises from spontaneous openings of GABAA receptors. The AAS 17alpha-methyltestosterone (17alpha-MeT) inhibited spontaneous and GABA-evoked currents in GnRH neurons. For recombinant alpha2beta3epsilon-receptors, 17alpha-MeT inhibited phasic and tonic GABA-elicited responses, accelerated desensitization and slowed paired pulse response recovery. Single channel analysis indicated that GABA-evoked events could be described by three open dwell components and that 17alpha-MeT enhanced residence in the intermediate dwell state. This AAS also inhibited a PTX-sensitive, spontaneous current (open probability, approximately 0.15-0.2) in a concentration-dependent fashion (IC50 approximately 9 microm). Kinetic modelling indicated that the inhibition induced by 17alpha-MeT occurs by an allosteric block in which the AAS interacts preferentially with a closed state and promotes accumulation in that state. Finally, studies with a G302S mutant epsilon-subunit suggest that this residue within the transmembrane domain TM2 plays a role in mediating AAS binding and modulation. In sum, our results indicate that inclusion of the epsilon-subunit significantly alters the profile of AAS modulation and that this allosteric inhibition of native GnRH neurons should be considered with regard to AAS disruption of neuroendocrine control.
    The Journal of Physiology 07/2006; 573(Pt 3):571-93. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • Paul J Whiting
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    ABSTRACT: Benzodiazepine (BZ) anxiolytics mediate their clinical effects by enhancing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at the GABA-A receptor. Classical BZ full agonists such as diazepam, which maximally enhance the function of GABA-A receptors, are effective anxiolytics but carry unwanted side effects including sedation, dependence and abuse liability, limiting their utility. Although a second generation of 'partial agonist' BZs have been pursued, promising preclinical data, in terms of anxiolytic efficacy and decreased unwanted effects, have so far failed to translate to the clinic. Following the insights into GABA-A receptor subtypes mediating the effects of BZs, a third generation of 'receptor subtype-selective' BZ site ligands have been developed. However, it remains to be determined whether promising preclinical data are recapitulated in the clinic.
    Current Opinion in Pharmacology 03/2006; 6(1):24-9. · 5.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 7-(1,1-Dimethylethyl)-6-(2-ethyl-2H-1,2,4-triazol-3-ylmethoxy)-3-(2-fluorophenyl)-1,2,4-triazolo[4,3-b]pyridazine (TPA023) is a triazolopyridazine that binds with equivalent high (subnanomolar) affinity to the benzodiazepine binding site of recombinant human GABA(A) receptors containing an alpha1, alpha2, alpha3, or alpha5 subunit but has partial agonist efficacy at the alpha2 and alpha3 subtypes and essentially antagonist efficacy at the alpha1 and alpha5 subtypes. In rats, TPA023 gave time- and dose-dependent occupancy after oral dosing, with 50% occupancy corresponding to a dose of 0.42 mg/kg. It has anxiolytic-like activity in unconditioned (elevated plus maze) and conditioned (fear-potentiated startle and conditioned suppression of drinking) rat models of anxiety with minimum effective doses (MED; 1-3 mg/kg) corresponding to 70 to 88% occupancy. However, there was no appreciable sedation in a response sensitivity (chain-pulling) assay at a dose of 30 mg/kg, resulting in 99% occupancy. Similarly, TPA023 was robustly anxiolytic in the squirrel monkey conditioned emotional response assay, with a MED of 0.3 mg/kg, but did not produce any sedation in a lever-pressing test of sedation even at 10 mg/kg. TPA023 produced no impairment in performance in the mouse Rotarod assay, and there was only a mild interaction with ethanol. In addition to anxiolytic-like efficacy, TPA023 had anticonvulsant activity in a mouse pentylenetetrazole seizure model. Finally, TPA023 did not cause precipitated withdrawal in mice treated for 7 days with the nonselective agonist triazolam, nor did N-methyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxamide (FG 7142) precipitate withdrawal in mice treated for 7 days with TPA023. In summary, the novel alpha2/alpha3-selective efficacy profile of TPA023 translates into a nonsedating anxiolytic profile that is distinct from nonselective agonists.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 02/2006; 316(1):410-22. · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The GABA(A) receptor subtypes responsible for the anxiolytic effects of nonselective benzodiazepines (BZs) such as chlordiazepoxide (CDP) and diazepam remain controversial. Hence, molecular genetic data suggest that alpha2-rather than alpha3-containing GABA(A) receptors are responsible for the anxiolytic effects of diazepam, whereas the anxiogenic effects of an alpha3-selective inverse agonist suggest that an agonist selective for this subtype should be anxiolytic. We have extended this latter pharmacological approach to identify a compound, 4,2'-difluoro-5'-[8-fluoro-7-(1-hydroxy-1-methylethyl)imidazo[1,2-á]pyridin-3-yl]biphenyl-2-carbonitrile (TP003), that is an alpha3 subtype selective agonist that produced a robust anxiolytic-like effect in both rodent and non-human primate behavioral models of anxiety. Moreover, in mice containing a point mutation that renders alpha2-containing receptors BZ insensitive (alpha2H101R mice), TP003 as well as the nonselective agonist CDP retained efficacy in a stress-induced hyperthermia model. Together, these data show that potentiation of alpha3-containing GABA(A) receptors is sufficient to produce the anxiolytic effects of BZs and that alpha2 potentiation may not be necessary.
    Journal of Neuroscience 12/2005; 25(46):10682-8. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene is a candidate susceptibility factor for schizophrenia, but its mechanistic role in the disorder is unknown. Here we report that the gene encoding phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) is disrupted by a balanced translocation in a subject diagnosed with schizophrenia and a relative with chronic psychiatric illness. The PDEs inactivate adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP), a second messenger implicated in learning, memory, and mood. We show that DISC1 interacts with the UCR2 domain of PDE4B and that elevation of cellular cAMP leads to dissociation of PDE4B from DISC1 and an increase in PDE4B activity. We propose a mechanistic model whereby DISC1 sequesters PDE4B in resting cells and releases it in an activated state in response to elevated cAMP.
    Science 12/2005; 310(5751):1187-91. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) has been identified as a putative risk factor for schizophrenia and affective disorders through study of a Scottish family with a balanced (1;11) (q42.1;q14.3) translocation, which results in the disruption of the DISC1 locus and cosegregates with major psychiatric disease. Several other reports of genetic linkage and association between DISC1 and schizophrenia in a range of patient populations have added credibility to the DISC1-schizophrenia theory, but the function of the DISC1 protein is still poorly understood. Recent studies have suggested that DISC1 plays a role in neuronal outgrowth, possibly through reported interactions with the molecules Nudel and FEZ1. Here we have analyzed the DISC1 protein sequence to identify previously unknown regions that are important for the correct targeting of the protein and conducted imaging studies to identify DISC1 subcellular location. We have identified a central coiled-coil region and show it is critical for the subcellular targeting of DISC1. This domain is independent from the C-terminal Nudel binding domain highlighting the multidomain nature/functionality of the DISC1 protein. Furthermore, we have been able to provide the first direct evidence that DISC1 is localized to mitochondria in cultured cortical neurons that are dependent on an intact cytoskeleton. Surprisingly, Nudel is seen to differentially associate with mitochondrial markers in comparison to DISC1. Disruption of the cytoskeleton results in colocalization of Nudel and mitochondrial markers-the first observation of such a direct relationship. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated to play a role in schizophrenia so we speculate that mutations in DISC1 or Nudel may impair mitochondrial transport or function, initiating a cascade of events culminating in psychiatric illness.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 05/2005; 28(4):613-24. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, nuclear distribution element-like (NUDEL) has been implicated to play a role in lissencephaly and schizophrenia through interactions with the lissencephaly gene 1 (Lis1) and disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) products, respectively. Interestingly, NUDEL is the same protein as endooligopeptidase A (EOPA), a thiol-activated peptidase involved in conversion and inactivation of a number of bioactive peptides. In this study, we have cloned EOPA from the human brain and have confirmed that it is equivalent to NUDEL, leading us to suggest a single name, NUDEL-oligopeptidase. In the brain, the monomeric form of NUDEL-oligopeptidase is responsible for the peptidase activity whose catalytic mechanism is likely to involve a reactive cysteine, because mutation of Cys-273 fully abolished NUDEL-oligopeptidase activity without disrupting the protein's secondary structure. Cys-273 is very close to the DISC1-binding site on NUDEL-oligopeptidase. Intriguingly, DISC1 inhibits NUDEL-oligopeptidase activity in a competitive fashion. We suggest that the activity of NUDEL-oligopeptidase is under tight regulation through protein-protein interactions and that disruption of these interactions, as postulated in a Scottish DISC1 translocation schizophrenia cohort, may lead to aberrant regulation of NUDEL-oligopeptidase, perhaps providing a substrate for the pathology of schizophrenia.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2005; 102(10):3828-33. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The affinity of several antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs for the 5-HT7 receptor and its CNS distribution suggest potential in the treatment of psychiatric diseases. However, there is little direct evidence of receptor function in vivo to support this. We therefore evaluated 5-HT7 receptors as a potential drug target by generating and assessing a 5-HT7 receptor knockout mouse. No difference in assays sensitive to potential psychotic or anxiety states was observed between the 5-HT7 receptor knockout mice and wild type controls. However, in the Porsolt swim test, 5-HT7 receptor knockout mice showed a significant decrease in immobility compared to controls, a phenotype similar to antidepressant treated mice. Intriguingly, treatment of wild types with SB-258719, a selective 5-HT7 receptor antagonist, did not produce a significant decrease in immobility unless animals were tested in the dark (or active) cycle, rather than the light, adding to the body of evidence suggesting a circadian influence on receptor function. Extracellular recordings from hypothalamic slices showed that circadian rhythm phase shifts to 8-OH-DPAT are attenuated in the 5-HT7 receptor KO mice also indicating a role for the receptor in the regulation of circadian rhythms. These pharmacological and genetic knockout studies provide the first direct evidence that 5-HT7 receptor antagonists should be investigated for efficacy in the treatment of depression.
    Neuropharmacology 04/2005; 48(4):492-502. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) was identified as a potential susceptibility gene for schizophrenia due to its disruption by a balanced t(1;11) (q42;q14) translocation, which has been shown to cosegregate with major psychiatric disease in a large Scottish family. We have recently presented evidence that DISC1 exists in a neurodevelopmentally regulated protein complex with Nudel. In this study, we report the protein expression profile of DISC1 in the adult and developing mouse brain utilizing immunohistochemistry and quantitative Western blot. In the adult mouse brain, DISC1 is expressed in neurons within various brain areas including the olfactory bulb, cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus, cerebellum and brain stem. During development, DISC1 protein is detected at all stages, from E10 to 6 months old, with two significant peaks of protein expression of a DISC1 isoform at E13.5 and P35. Interestingly, these time points correspond to critical stages during mouse development, the active neurogenesis period in the developing brain and the period of puberty. Together, these results suggest that DISC1 may play a critical role in brain development, consistent with the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of the etiology of schizophrenia.
    Molecular Psychiatry 01/2005; 9(12):1100-10. · 14.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: gamma-Aminobutyric acid A (GABA(A)) receptors are believed to mediate a number of alcohol's behavioral actions. Because the subunit composition of GABA(A) receptors determines receptor pharmacology, behavioral sensitivity to alcohol (ethanol) may depend on which subunits are present (or absent). A number of knock-out and/or transgenic mouse models have been developed (alpha1, alpha2, alpha5, alpha6, beta2, beta3, gamma2S, gamma2L, delta) and tested for behavioral sensitivity to ethanol. Here we review the current GABA(A) receptor subunit knock-out and transgenic literature for ethanol sensitivity, and integrate these results into those obtained using quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis and gene expression assays. Converging evidence from these three approaches support the notion that different behavioral actions of ethanol are mediated by specific subunits, and suggest that new drugs that target specific GABA(A) subunits may selectively alter some behavioral actions of ethanol, without altering others. Current data sets provide strongest evidence for a role of alpha1-subunits in ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex, and alpha5-subunits in ethanol-stimulated locomotion. However, three-way validation is hampered by the incomplete behavioral characterization of many of the mutant mice, and additional subunits are likely to be linked to alcohol actions as behavioral testing progresses.
    Biochemical Pharmacology 11/2004; 68(8):1581-602. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. A high-throughput assay utilizing the voltage/ion probe reader (VIPR) technology identified salicylidene salicylhydrazide (SCS) as being a potent selective inhibitor of alpha2beta1gamma1 GABA(A) receptors with a maximum inhibition of 56+/-5% and an IC(50) of 32 (23, 45) nm. 2. Evaluation of this compound using patch-clamp electrophysiological techniques demonstrated that the compound behaved in a manner selective for receptors containing the beta1 subunit (e.g. maximum inhibition of 68.1+/-2.7% and IC(50) value of 5.3 (4.4, 6.5) nm on alpha2beta1gamma1 receptors). The presence of a beta1 subunit was paramount for the inhibition with changes between alpha1 and alpha2, gamma1 and gamma2, and the presence of a subunit having little effect. 3. On all subtypes, SCS produced incomplete inhibition with the greatest level of inhibition at alpha1beta1gamma1 receptors (74.3+/-1.4%). SCS displayed no use or voltage dependence, suggesting that it does not bind within the channel region. Concentration - response curves to GABA in the presence of SCS revealed a reduction in the maximum response with no change in the EC(50) or Hill coefficient. In addition, SCS inhibited pentobarbitone-induced currents. 4. Threonine 255, located within transmembrane domain (TM) 1, and isoleucine 308, located extracellularly just prior to TM3, were required for inhibition by SCS. 5. SCS did not compete with the known allosteric modulators, picrotoxin, pregnenolone sulphate, dehydroepiandrosterone 3-sulphate, bicuculline, loreclezole or mefenamic acid. Neither was the inhibition by SCS influenced by the benzodiazepine site antagonist flumazenil. 6. In conclusion, SCS is unique in selectively inhibiting GABA(A) receptors containing the beta1 subunit via an allosteric mechanism. The importance of threonine 255 and isoleucine 308 within the beta1 subunit and the lack of interaction with a range of GABA(A) receptor modulators suggests that SCS is interacting at a previously unidentified site.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 06/2004; 142(1):97-106. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disrupted In Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) was identified as a potential susceptibility gene for schizophrenia due to its disruption by a balanced t(1;11) (q42;q14) translocation, which has been shown to cosegregate with major psychiatric disease in a large Scottish family. We have demonstrated that DISC1 exists in a neurodevelopmentally regulated protein complex with Nudel. The complex is abundant at E17 and in early postnatal life but is greatly reduced in the adult. Nudel has previously been shown to bind Lis1, a gene underlying lissencephaly in humans. Critically, we show that the predicted peptide product resulting from the Scottish translocation removes the interaction domain for Nudel. DISC1 interacts with Nudel through a leucine zipper domain and binds to a novel DISC1-interaction domain on Nudel, which is independent from the Lis1 binding site. We show that Nudel is able to act as a bridge between DISC1 and Lis1 to allow formation of a trimolecular complex. Nudel has been implicated to play a role in neuronal migration, together with the developmental variation in the abundance of the DISC1-Nudel complex, may implicate a defective DISC1-Nudel complex as a neurodevelopmental cause of schizophrenia.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 02/2004; 25(1):42-55. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Investigation into the modulatory effects of chlormethiazole at human recombinant gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor (GABAA) and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors was undertaken to gain insight into its mechanism of action and determine if the drug exhibited any subtype-selective activity. 2. Despite a structural similarity to the beta-subunit-selective compound loreclezole, chlormethiazole did not show any difference in maximum efficacy and only a slight difference in EC50 in its potentiating action at alpha1beta1gamma2 and alpha1beta2gamma2 GABAA receptor subtypes with preference for alpha1beta1gamma2. 3. Similar to the previously reported subtype-dependent activity of pentobarbital, chlormethiazole elicited a significantly greater degree of maximum potentiation on receptors lacking a gamma2 subunit, and also those receptors containing an alpha4 or alpha6 subunit. This also demonstrates that chlormethiazole does not act via the benzodiazepine binding site. 4. Unlike pentobarbital and propofol, chlormethiazole elicited only a slight direct GABAA receptor activation at concentrations up to 1 mm. In addition, the drug did not potentiate anaesthetic-mediated currents elicited by pentobarbital or propofol, suggesting that chlormethiazole may be acting via an anaesthetic binding site. 5. Chlormethiazole produced weak nonselective inhibition of human NMDA NR1a+NR2A and NR1a+NR2B receptors. IC50's were approximately 500 microm that likely exceed the therapeutic dose range for chlormethiazole, indicating that the primary mechanism of the compounds in vivo activity is via GABAA receptors.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 12/2003; 140(6):1045-50. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The specific mechanisms underlying general anesthesia are primarily unknown. The intravenous general anesthetic etomidate acts by potentiating GABA(A) receptors, with selectivity for beta2 and beta3 subunit-containing receptors determined by a single asparagine residue. We generated a genetically modified mouse containing an etomidate-insensitive beta2 subunit (beta2 N265S) to determine the role of beta2 and beta3 subunits in etomidate-induced anesthesia. Loss of pedal withdrawal reflex and burst suppression in the electroencephalogram were still observed in the mutant mouse, indicating that loss of consciousness can be mediated purely through beta3-containing receptors. The sedation produced by subanesthetic doses of etomidate and during recovery from anesthesia was present only in wild-type mice, indicating that the beta2 subunit mediates the sedative properties of anesthetics. These findings show that anesthesia and sedation are mediated by distinct GABA(A) receptor subtypes.
    Journal of Neuroscience 10/2003; 23(24):8608-17. · 6.91 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
546.30 Total Impact Points


  • 1996–2006
    • Merck
      • Department of Medicinal Chemistry
      Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, United States
  • 2004
    • University of Texas at Austin
      • Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research
      Austin, Texas, United States
  • 2003
    • University of Oxford
      • MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit
      Oxford, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 1996–1998
    • Medical Research Council (UK)
      • MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 1997
    • University of Dundee
      • School of Medicine
      Dundee, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 1993–1996
    • University of Colorado
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Denver, CO, United States