The Blakely Lab at Florida Atlantic University
c-fos labelling showing neuronal activation on a whole mouse brain. After immunolabelling and tissue clearing, brain was scanned on the Blaze Light Sheet Ultramicroscope. Credits: Lorena Areal, Paula Kurdziel and Jana Strickler.
Research in the Blakely laboratory is focused on how presynaptic plasma membrane transporter proteins support chemical signaling in the nervous system, how they mediate the entry of transmitter-like neurotoxins into neurons, and whether altered signaling in disease states is supported by genetic variations in transporter structure. Over the past decade, we have been actively involved in the molecular cloning of transporter genes, including the identification of transporters for norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, proline, creatine, and choline. Using modern techniques in molecular biology, biochemistry, imaging, and genetics, we apply a multi-disciplinary approach to understand how transporters are organized in the plasma membrane, how they recognize their substrates, how they are regulated, and whether defects in their activity, trafficking, or regulation contribute to altered behavior and physiology.