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David Turner

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Primary Appointment: Molecular & Behav Neurosc Inst
Other PIBS Depts.: Neuroscience
PubMed Name: Turner DL



 DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
  The two main areas of research in the Turner lab are microRNA-mediated control of gene expression in the mammalian nervous system and the transcriptional control of neuronal differentiation.

microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate the translation and/or stability of target mRNAs via sequence specific interactions, and miRNA regulation appears pervasive in the nervous system. We have developed in situ hybridization techniques for visualizing the expression of miRNAs in the mammalian nervous system, and we are using next generation deep sequencing technology to profile neural miRNAs from wild-type and mutant mice. We are using multiple molecular and functional approaches to analyze the roles and regulation of miRNAs in the developing nervous system, including in the retina and cerebellum.

During development, the formation of neurons is regulated in part by a family of transcription factors known as basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins. Several of these bHLH proteins (e.g. MASH1, neurogenin1-3) are expressed in subsets of neural progenitor cells, and can direct the initiation of neuronal differentiation, as well as other events such as cell cycle exit. We are interested in understanding the cascade of gene expression and regulatory processes initiated by the neural bHLH proteins. Our recent studies have looked at the link between the bHLH proteins and signaling pathways that the control cell cycle exit during neurogenesis.