Department of Neurobiology
Thathiah, Amantha
Assistant Professor, Neurobiology
Address: 6062 BST3
  3501 Fifth Ave, STE 6062
  Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3301
Telephone: 412-383-4078
Fax: 412-648-1441

PIND Website

Cellular and molecular pathogenesis in Alzheimer's disease

The aim of my research is to study the cellular and molecular pathways involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More specifically, my focus is to understand how G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and β-arrestins regulate the amyloid pathway, synaptic plasticity and cognition, and to determine how to therapeutically modulate GPCR/β-arrestin-biased signaling in AD and other neurological disorders. I hypothesize that the β-arrestins provide a putative basis to understand the link between GPCRs and Aβ generation through regulation of the γ-secretase complex and will provide insight into the pathophysiology of GPCR dysfunction in AD and a novel therapeutic avenue for intervention in AD. Consequently, I have adopted two approaches to address my research questions: (1) a focused approach aimed at understanding the molecular, cellular and physiological role of GPR3 and β-arrestin 2 in synaptic function and cognition and regulation of γ-secretase activity, Aβ accumulation and Aβ-mediated synaptotoxicity and (2) a broad approach aimed at attaining a more extensive understanding of the GPCR/β-arrestin network in the brain and in regulation of Aβ generation and the γ-secretase complex under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. By integrating mouse genetics with cellular and biochemical techniques, electrophysiology and behavioral studies, and optogenetic tools, I hope to achieve a greater understanding of the mechanism(s) regulating GPCR and β-arrestin synaptic function and cognition in AD.

Sample Publications:

The role of GPCRs in neurodegenerative diseases: avenues for therapeutic intervention.
Huang Y, Todd N, Thathiah A.
Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2017 Feb;32:96-110.

Loss of GPR3 reduces the amyloid plaque burden and improves memory in Alzheimer's disease mouse models.
Huang Y, Skwarek-Maruszewska A, Horré K, Vandewyer E, Wolfs L, Snellinx A, Saito T, Radaelli E, Corthout N, Colombelli J, Lo AC, Van Aerschot L, Callaerts-Vegh Z, Trabzuni D, Bossers K, Verhaagen J, Ryten M, Munck S, D'Hooge R, Swaab DF, Hardy J, Saido TC, De Strooper B, Thathiah A.
Sci Transl Med. 2015 Oct 14;7(309):309ra164.

The orphan G protein-coupled receptor 3 modulates amyloid-beta peptide generation in neurons.
Thathiah A, Spittaels K, Hoffmann M, Staes M, Cohen A, Horré K, Vanbrabant M, Coun F, Baekelandt V, Delacourte A, Fischer DF, Pollet D, De Strooper B, Merchiers P.
Science. 2009 Feb 13;323(5916):946-51.

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