Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory

Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory

The Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory at the Veterans Administration Medical Center is under the direction of Dr. Ranganathan Parthasarathy. This group has focused on molecular mechanisms of mood-stabilizing medications such as lithium, carbamazepine, and valproate. For the past few years, one area of focus has been an enzyme in the inositol signaling system, inositol monophosphatase, which is thought to be a therapeutic site of action for lithium. This lithium-inhibited enzyme has been a model for pharmaceutical companies to design new lithium-like drugs. Recently, we have determined that this enzyme has substrates other than its traditional substrates, and may actually use several other monophosphorylated carbohydrates as alternate substrates. In addition, the lab has recently cloned a human and rat cDNA of this enzyme, and are in the process of further exploring the structural and promoter region of this gene. Long-term goals include human studies to determine is lithium-resistant manic-depressives have a mutation in this gene, and also if this gene is a potential marker for subtypes of manic-depressive disorder.