Ranu Pal Ph.D.

Cytology Specialist

Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center
University of Kansas - Lawrence
Life Span Institute
1000 Sunnyside Ave
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-3413 (tel)
http://kiddrc.kumc.edu http://lsi.ku.edu/

Biography/Curriculum Vitae:

Research Interests:
Glutamate neurotransmission plays a crucial role in development, aging and degeneration of the brain. These events are produced through activation of glutamate receptors especially those that trigger Ca++ influx into brain cells (neurons). NMDA receptor is a class of glutamate receptors and a major site of glutamate-activated Ca++ entry into the neurons. Chronic treatment of neurons with alcohol has been shown to up-regulate the function and expression of NMDA receptors. NR1, the principle subunit of NMDARs which has 8 different splice variant forms resulted from alternative splicing of exon-5 and 21, seems to be affected by this treatment too. In my first project, the confocal laser microscopic observation of the pyramidal neurons of CA1 hippocampal region revealed that an antibody raised against a 16 aa peptide at the N-terminal end of NR1 Exon-5 (Ex5) labeled the cell bodies in particular and a very small area of the dendritic processes differentially, whereas another antibody raised against a 14 aa peptide at the C-terminal end of NR1 Exon-21 (Ex21) labeled both the cell bodies and the dendritic processes equally. It is now known that some specific splice variant forms of NR1 that lack Ex5 are more sensitive to glutamate hyper excitability. Recently in our lab, identification of a 24 base-pair nucleotide sequence in the 5?-untranslated region of ex5- NR1 has shown to hybridize mRNAs in both cell bodies and dendrites of hippocampal neurons. Coincidentally they hybridized with the RNA granules also (which are nothing but trafficking intermediates that move along microtubules and contain components of translational machinery and molecular motors), indicating its? involvement in possible dendrite trafficking. My second project was to investigate the effects of Pilocarpine-induced hyper-excitability (a very popular seizure-inducing drug used in animal model) on distribution and expression of proteins associated mainly with ex-5+/- of NR1 forms, mRNAs and proteins associated with that mRNA. A seizure-inducing dosage of pilocarpine in whole animal induced a significant down-regulation in the expression of ex5-mRNAs in the cell bodies and dendrites indicating its? probable role in the release of bound ex5-mRNAs, rapid translation and synthesis of associated proteins and eventual degradation of those mRNAs. Currently I am refining slice-culture technologies to deliver drugs like bicucculline, actinomycin etc to their target regions and investigate how efficiently and effectively they modify the distribution and expression of these mRNAs and other proteins associated with that 24-base sequence in that culture condition.

Narrative of Current Research Efforts:

Major Honors and Awards:
Junior Research Fellowship -1976 - 1979 - Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India.
Senior Research Fellowship -1979 - 1981 - Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India.
Post Doctoral Research Associateship - 1986 - 1989 - University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India

Representative Publications:

Created 2/22/2006 by Douglas Brownyard
Last modified 4/4/2006 by Evette Mezger