Hypothalamic Receptors for Metabolic Health

Transcriptomics studies have identified that gene expression of a G-protein coupled receptor in the hypothalamus of diet–induced obese mice is up-regulated. This receptor is implicated in brain damage and repair. A great deal of evidence now exists that a high-fat diet both structurally and functionally damages the hypothalamus resulting in the development of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Targeting this receptor could prevent or ameliorate the effects of diet and/or obesity on the hypothalamus potentially providing a novel drug target in these conditions. Our studies to unravel the signficance and therapeutic potential of this target involve drug design, cell biology techniques including fluorescence microscopy and second messenger assays. Receptor desensitisation and trafficking in response to receptor agonists and antagonists will also be studied. Cell lines stably transfected with the receptor and the receptor coupled to green fluorescent protein are already available in the supervisor’s lab. Initial studies will use these cells to develop drugs that specifically target this receptor and also form the basis for receptor trafficking studies

Project Team: Dr Lynda Williams, Dr Iain Greig, Dr Janice Drew, Prof Ruth Ross

Funding: MSD SULSA PhD Studentship