Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms; Mental Disorders; Nervous System Diseases
Psychiatry: Center for Nicotine and Tobacco Use Research at Yale (CENTURY) | Connecticut Mental Health Center | Molecular Psychiatry, Division of | Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science | Yale Translational Center to Develop Gender-Sensitive Treatment for Tobacco Dependence
The goal of Dr. Picciotto's research team is to understand the role of single molecules in complex behaviors related to addiction, depression, feeding and learning. She and her colleagues use molecular genetic and pharmacological approaches to link the biochemical, cellular, and anatomical levels of investigation to behavior. Of primary interest is the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in brain function and development.
Dr. Picciotto’s laboratory also studies signaling molecules downstream of nicotinic receptors, such as calcineurin, CaM kinases and adducins, which may mediate long-term changes in behavior downstream of these receptors.
Extensive Research Description
Our goal is to understand the role of single molecules in both typical behaviors and those related to psychiatric illness. We use molecular genetic and pharmacological approaches to link the biochemical, cellular, and anatomical levels of investigation to behavior. A primary focus is the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in brain development and function.
We are also interested in signaling molecules downstream of nicotinic receptors that may mediate long-term changes in behavior following receptor activation. Ultimately, integration of studies at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels will be necessary to understand the neurobiological basis for expression and plasticity of complex behaviors.
- Developmental role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in cortico-thalamic circuits and related behavior
- Intracellular signaling pathways involved in the transition to behaviors related to nicotine addiction
- Nicotinic antagonists and partial agonists as novel antidepressants
- Circuits involved in nicotine's effects on feeding
- Taylor, S.R., Badurek, S., Dileone, R.J., Nashmi, R., Minichiello, L. and Picciotto, M.R. GABAergic and glutamatergic efferents of the mouse ventral tegmental area. (2014) J Comp Neurol, 522(14):3308-34. PMC4107038
- Mineur, Y.S., Obayemi, A., Wigestrand, M.B., Fote, G., Calarco, C.A., Li, A.M. and Picciotto, M.R. (2013) Cholinergic signaling in the hippocampus regulates social stress resilience, anxiety- and depression-like behavior, PNAS 110(9):3573-8. PMC3587265
- McClure-Begley, T.D., Papke, R.L., Stone, K.A., Stokes, C., Levy, A.D., Gelernter, J., Xie, P., Lindstrom, J.M. and Picciotto, M.R. (2014) Rare human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 4 subunit (CHRNA4) variants affect expression and function of high affinity nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, J Pharm Exp Ther, 348(3):410-20. PMC3935145
- Zhou, W.L., Gao, X.-B. and Picciotto, M.R. (2015) Acetylcholine acts through nicotinic receptors to enhance the firing rate of a subset of hypocretin neurons in the mouse hypothalamus through distinct presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms, eNeuro, 2(1): e0052