• We are interested in revealing the mysteries of primary cilium. Primary cilium is a tiny, hair-like, microtubule-based organelle present in almost every vertebrate cell. The microenvironment in cilium is unique compared to most other actin-based signaling domains. It is highly sensitive to extracellular signals such as nutrients, morphogens, hormones, and mechanical stimuli. Cilium emanates from the basal body residing underneath the plasma membrane. Dismantling primary cilium is a prerequisite for the initiation of cell cycle. The primary cilium is thus considered the “keeper of the key for cell division”. Primary cilium plays crucial roles in a variety of physiological functions including cell division, development, sensory perception and energy balance. Defect of cilia lead to a broad spectrum of human diseases including polycystic kidney disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, sensory defects and intellectual disability. In the nervous system, every neuron virtually has one primary cilium. Neuronal primary cilium is a unique type of neuronal process, locating in the cell boy but lacking synaptic structures or connections. Therefore, neuronal primary cilium mostly depends on metabotropic receptors to transmit signals downstream. A couple of GPCRs such as type 3 somatostatin receptor and type 6 serotonin receptor are highly expressed in primary cilium. Type III adenylyl cyclase (AC3) is a predominant adenylyl cyclase and enriched in neuronal primary cilium. In this regard, AC3 is a key enzyme for cAMP-mediated signaling in neuronal cilium and is a crucial element for the “antenna” to execute its functions in neuron.

    We are dedicated to studying the cAMP signaling specifically in primary cilia. First, our lab aims to determine how type III adenylyl cyclase (AC3) at neuronal primary cilia affects neuronal function and examine how defects of AC3 lead to major depression and obesity. We are also interested in unraveling the contributions of primary cilia in neurodegeneration and brain aging.

    We have a couple of research opportunities for undergraduates and graduates to acquire research expertise in primary cilia and skills in the field of neuroscience. We also have one open postdoctoral position to study the cAMP signaling in primary cilia. The research approaches include electrophysiology and EEG/EMG recording, mouse behavioral analysis, in vivo imaging using fiber-optic endoscope, molecular and cellular tools. We are establishing collaborations with research labs in USA, Germany, and Canada. Interested individuals (for the postdoc position) should have a Ph.D and research experience in neurobiology, and/or cell biology. Interested candidates at various levels are encouraged to contact Dr. Xuanmao Chen at Xuanmao.Chen@unh.edu
  • Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title
    2019 Comparative Phosphoproteomic Profiling of Type III Adenylyl Cyclase Knockout and Control, Male, and Female Mice.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.  13:34. 2019
    2018 Neuronal and astrocytic primary cilia in the mature brain.Pharmacological Research.  137:114-121. 2018
    2016 Ablation of Type III Adenylyl Cyclase in Mice Causes Reduced Neuronal Activity, Altered Sleep Pattern, and Depression-like Phenotypes.Biological Psychiatry.  80:836-848. 2016
    2016 Disruption of type 3 adenylyl cyclase expression in the hypothalamus leads to obesity.Integr Obes Diabetes.  2:225-228. 2016
    2015 An Olfactory Cilia Pattern in the Mammalian Nose Ensures High Sensitivity to OdorsCurrent Biology.  25:2503-2512. 2015
    2015 Overexpression of the Type 1 Adenylyl Cyclase in the Forebrain Leads to Deficits of Behavioral InhibitionJournal of Neuroscience.  35:339-351. 2015
    2015 The Type 3 Adenylyl Cyclase Is Required for the Survival and Maturation of Newly Generated Granule Cells in the Olfactory BulbPLoS ONE.  10:e0122057-e0122057. 2015
    2014 Genetic disruption of the core circadian clock impairs hippocampus-dependent memoryLearning and Memory.  21:417-423. 2014
    2013 Isoflurane Regulates Atypical Type-A γ-Aminobutyric Acid Receptors in Alveolar Type II Epithelial CellsAnesthesiology.  118:1065-1075. 2013
    2013 Electroolfactogram (EOG) Recording in the Mouse Main Olfactory EpitheliumBio-protocol.  3. 2013
    2012 Stimulation of Electro-Olfactogram Responses in the Main Olfactory Epithelia by Airflow Depends on the Type 3 Adenylyl CyclaseJournal of Neuroscience.  32:15769-15778. 2012
    2011 An anti-coagulation agent Futhan preferentially targets GABAA receptors in lungepithelia: implication in treating asthmaInternational journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology.  3:249-249. 2011
    2011 Functional Modifications of Acid-Sensing Ion Channels by Ligand-Gated Chloride ChannelsPLoS ONE.  6:e21970-e21970. 2011
    2010 Design and screening of ASIC inhibitors based on aromatic diamidines for combating neurological disordersBehavioural Processes European Journal of Pharmacology European Journal of Pharmacology - Molecular Pharmacology Section.  648:15-23. 2010
    2010 Diarylamidines: High potency inhibitors of acid-sensing ion channelsNeuropharmacology.  58:1045-1053. 2010
    2010 The modulation of TRPM7 currents by nafamostat mesilate depends directly upon extracellular concentrations of divalent cationsMolecular Brain.  3:38-38. 2010
    2009 Platelet-derived Growth Factor Selectively Inhibits NR2B-containingN-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptors in CA1 Hippocampal NeuronsJournal of Biological Chemistry.  284:8054-8063. 2009
    2008 Candidate Amino Acids Involved in H+Gating of Acid-sensing Ion Channel 1aJournal of Biological Chemistry.  283:572-581. 2008
    2007 Zebrafish Acid-sensing Ion Channel (ASIC) 4, Characterization of Homo- and Heteromeric Channels, and Identification of Regions Important for Activation by H+Journal of Biological Chemistry.  282:30406-30413. 2007
    2007 Permeating protons contribute to tachyphylaxis of the acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) 1aJournal of Physiology.  579:657-670. 2007
    2006 Strong modulation by RFamide neuropeptides of the ASIC1b/3 heteromer in competition with extracellular calciumNeuropharmacology.  50:964-974. 2006
    2006 Interaction of Acid-sensing Ion Channel (ASIC) 1 with the Tarantula Toxin Psalmotoxin 1 is State DependentJournal of General Physiology.  127:267-276. 2006
    2005 The Tarantula Toxin Psalmotoxin 1 Inhibits Acid-sensing Ion Channel (ASIC) 1a by Increasing Its Apparent H+AffinityJournal of General Physiology.  126:71-79. 2005

    Teaching Activities

  • Doctoral Thesis Taught course 2019
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2019
  • Doctoral Thesis Taught course 2018
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2018
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2018
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2018
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2018
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2018
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2018
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2017
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2017
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2016
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2016
  • Education And Training

  • B.S. Biology, Nanchang University
  • M.S. Genetics, Fudan University
  • Ph.D. Physiology, University of Tuebingen
  • Full Name

  • Xuanmao Chen