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School of Pharmacy
Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr. Chris Gissendanner's Research Interests

NR4A nuclear receptor regulation and activity during organ formation

Our laboratory studies the NR4A group of orphan nuclear receptors. This functionally diverse group of transcription factors has context-dependent roles in regulation cell proliferation, differentiation, quiescence, and survival. They are emerging as important factors in the etiology of several diseases including atherosclerosis, cancer, and neurodegeneration. Our focus is on understanding the cellular mechanisms of NR4A NR function with an emphasis in deciphering downstream transcriptional outputs and the modulation of NR4A NR activity at the protein level.

We study this transcription factor using the Caenorhabdities elegans genetic model system. We have determined that the NR4A NR homolog in C. elegans, NHR-6, regulates cell proliferation and cell differentiation during development of a somatic gonad organ, the spermatheca. This structurally simple, yet functionally complex organ system provides an ideal system for investigating the regulation of distinct NR4A NR activities. Our current research program is focused on the following:

  1. Identifying downstream target genes using genomic and bioinformatics approaches
  2. Using genetic modifier screens and biochemical assays to identify co-factor proteins and upstream signaling regulators

The goal of our research is to discover NR4A signaling pathways that can provide new insight into the role of NR4A in disease models.

Developmental functions of extracellular leucine-rich repeat proteins (eLRRs)

We are also interested in the developmental functions of eLRR proteins in C. elegans. eLRRs are a diverse superfamily of proteins with important functions in innate immunity and nervous system development. We are interested in defining roles for these proteins in cellular differentiation and tissue morphogenesis. These particular biological functions of eLRRs have yet to be extensively characterized.

Contact Information

Dr. Chris Gissendanner Chris R. Gissendanner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Bienville 362
Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Pharmacy
University of Louisiana at Monroe
Monroe, LA 71209-0497
ph: 318-342-3314
fax: 318-342-1737
email: gissendanner@ulm.edu