RNA regulation in the Nervous System
Neural Development, Neurodegeneration and Behaviour
Work in the Alonso Lab investigates the molecular mechanisms controlling gene function in the nervous system.
We seek to define the mechanisms and biological roles of RNA regulation within the genetic programs that underlie the formation and function of the nervous system. We are also exploring how RNA regulatory processes affect neurodegeneration and the control of behaviour.
Over the last several years the lab has studied the function and regulation of a specific group of genes, the Hox genes, which encode an evolutionary conserved family of transcriptional regulators required for the correct formation of the nervous system. We are currently using our close understanding of the Hox system to study how different forms of RNA regulation (microRNA regulation, alternative polyadenylation, alternative splicing) affect the development, function and degeneration of the nervous system. We are also looking at the impact of RNA-based regulatory processes on the genetic control of behaviour (see NEWS section). Given the evolutionary conservation of the Hox genes all the way from insects to humans, our experiments can exploit the power and sophistication of modern genetic and imaging approaches in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster together with the biochemical accessibility of mammalian cell cultures.
The lab is driven by an international group of talented Post-docs and PhD students with diverse backgrounds ranging from pure biochemistry to developmental genetics, population biology and computer science. The common denominator across all members of the group is our strong commitment to understand how gene activity is molecularly controlled within the physiological context of development and how gene regulatory programs flower out to form and control the workings of complex tissues such as the brain.
Informal enquiries about the Alonso Lab are very welcome and should be addressed to: email@example.com