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Zhen Yang

 

 Zhen Yang

 

Graduate Student
(765)237-2774

 

My research target is a trans-membrane IgYang protein, Dscam, which functions as a cell surface receptor during drosophila nervous system development. Drosophila Dscam is remarkable because thousands of different isoforms can be generated by random alternative splicing. Anti-parallel homophilic binding can be formed between two identical Dscam isoforms and induce repulsion between cell surfaces. My research interest is to characterize Dscam signaling in this homophilic interaction induced repulsion. Mass spectrometry is employed to analyze Dscam phosphorylation changes and to identify any Dscam associated proteins.  Combining Mass spectrometry with biochemistry and genetic analysis, I will be able to understand the downstream signaling initiated by Dscam homophilic interaction and how this signaling directs cell movement.  My project will help elucidate the mechanism of axon patterning and synapse formation, which will benefit neuronal diseases treatments.