2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Bioengineering
Mentor: Thomas Südhof (Molecular & Cellular Physiology)

“The Molecular Mechanisms Underlying BAI-adhesion GPCRs’ Regulations of Neuronal Development”

Brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitors (BAI) are adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and are crucial in nervous system development and have been implicated in various neurological diseases. The Sudhof lab’s primary goal is to elucidate the physiological functions and molecular mechanisms of BAIs (BAI1-3) in neuronal development using genetically engineered mouse models. Deletion of the BAI3 gene in transgenic mice, shows that BAI3 promotes synapse formation while inhibiting dendritic branching. Since BAI3 interacts with different ligand molecules (including RTN4Rs and C1qls) one important question is whether BAI-RTN4R and/or BAIs-C1ql interactions contribute to synapse formation and dendritic branching. First, since they have observed significant synapse formation deficit in neurons without the BAI3 gene, Ahmed will examine the expression levels of multiple synaptic proteins in these cells by western blotting. Second, he will analyze imaging data of neuronal morphology using Fiji software to understand the roles and mechanisms of BAIs in neuronal development. Third, he will perform genotyping analysis to identify genetically purebred transgenic mice for breeding using techniques such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This work will aid in clarifying the function of BAI receptors in nervous system development and consequently neurological diseases.