The genome responds to neuronal activation.
A stylized rendering of ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq data revealing transcriptional upregulation at and near the Fos Locus
Photo Credit: Helen Yang
The goal of our laboratory is to understand the genomic mechanisms of neuronal activity-regulated transcription and its contributions to neural circuit plasticity. As part of this effort, we are developing a genomic and systems-biological understanding of the activity-regulated gene program. This work includes defining how different patterns of neural activity are translated into different sets of expressed genes and how this neuronal-activity-to-gene-expression coupling map is encoded in gene regulatory sequences. In addition, we are investigating the functional consequences of activity-regulated transcription, with a focus on experience-dependent myelination and firing rate homeostasis. Our approach has the potential to reveal genomic mechanisms required to store new information in neural circuits, as well as maintain the firing rate stability needed to preserve old information and enable future learning.