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Section on Neuroendocrinology

Section on Neuroendocrinology


The Section on Neuroendocrinology has a broad interest in the role that the pineal gland plays in biology, with special interest in melatonin and how the production of melatonin is regulated by the melatonin rhythm enzyme arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT, EC2.3.1.87). 

Current areas of research include:

  • Functional analysis of the AANAT/14-3-3 regulatory complex
  • Identification of new AANAT binding partners using yeast two hybrid system and affinity approaches
  • Characterization of cAMP and clock dependent transcriptional mechanisms controlling AANAT gene expression
  • Analysis of mechanisms involved in regulating proteasomal proteolysis of AANAT

Recent advances include:

  • Discovery that a cyclic AMP operated switch controls binding of AANAT to 14-3-3 proteins
  • Determination of the 3-D crystal structure of the AANAT/14-3-3 regulatory complex
  • Demonstration that 14-3-3 binding activates and shields AANAT
  • Use of the AANAT promoter for pineal/retina specific gene targeting
  • Development of cell lines expressing AANAT
  • Discovery that minute-to-minute neural control of AANAT protein in vertebrates involves blocking rapid proteasomal proteolysis

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Recent Publications

Matsuo M, Coon SL, Klein DC. (2013) RGS2 is a feedback inhibitor of melatonin production in the pineal gland. FEBS Lett. 2013 May 2;587(9):1392-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.03.016. Epub 2013 Mar 21. PMID:23523917

Tovin A, Alon S, Ben-Moshe Z, Mracek P, Vatine G, Foulkes NS, Jacob-Hirsch J, Rechavi G, Toyama R, Coon SL, Klein DC, Eisenberg E, Gothilf Y. (2012) Systematic identification of rhythmic genes reveals camk1gb as a new element in the circadian clockwork. PLoS Genet. 2012;8(12):e1003116. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003116. Epub 2012 Dec 20. PMID:23284293

Rath MF, Rohde K, Klein DC, Møller M. (2012) Homeobox genes in the rodent pineal gland: roles in development and phenotype maintenance. Neurochem Res. 2013 Jun;38(6):1100-12. doi: 10.1007/s11064-012-0906-y. Epub 2012 Oct 18. PMID:23076630

Clokie SJ, Lau P, Kim HH, Coon SL, Klein DC. (2012) MicroRNAs in the pineal gland: miR-483 regulates melatonin synthesis by targeting arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase. J Biol Chem. 2012 Jul 20;287(30):25312-24. PMID:22908386

Coon SL, Munson PJ, Cherukuri PF, Sugden D, Rath MF, Møller M, Clokie SJ, Fu C, Olanich ME, Rangel Z, Werner T; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Mullikin JC, Klein DC. (2012) Circadian changes in long noncoding RNAs in the pineal gland. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Aug 14;109(33):13319-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1207748109. Epub 2012 Aug 3. PMID:22864914