SMART:MIND

        THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO

Dr. Manuel Miranda

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Department of Biological Sciences

The Miranda’s laboratory investigates the mechanisms of regulation of activity for different neurotransmitter transporters in the brain.

Research questions:

  • Are transporters regulated by posttranslational modifications?
  • What is the signaling pathway regulation these modifications?
  • Is any of these mechanisms affected in drug addiction?

Significance of the work: The goal of our research project is to understand the effects of widely abused psychostimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines on the activity of the dopamine transporter. It is well documented that amphetamines lead to a dramatic reduction of cell surface DAT in humans and rodent models. Although the DAT has been well studied, how the transporter is regulated remains poorly understood. To get insight into the mechanism of regulation of DAT function, the Miranda’s laboratory is analyzing the cell signaling pathways responsible for regulation of DAT activity and trafficking, and the effect of post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination on DA uptake.

Methods to be learned: Dr. Miranda’s laboratory uses a variety of techniques including neuronal culture, fluorescence microscopy and single cell imaging, enzyme kinetics, site-directed mutagenesis, mass spectrometry and molecular modeling. Program participants will be able to participate in any aspect of this on-going research. They will gain training in several aspects of cell and molecular biology of the neuron, as well as drug discovery and pharmacology.