Transporter Biology Group

Lab head: Robert Vandenberg
Location: Pharmacology, Blackburn Building

This group investigates the pharmacology and biochemistry of neurotransmitter transporters in the central nervous system. This involves the use of a combination of recombinant DNA and electrophysiological techniques to investigate the molecular basis for the actions of endogenous modulators as well as novel agents on neurotransmitter transporters.

Lab members: R Vandenberg (head), R Ryan (senior), Cheryl Handford (research assistant), Marietta Salim (research assistant), Amelia Edington )PhD student), Tan Sirivant (PhD student)
Funding: NHMRC Project Grant, ARC Discovery Grant
Research approach equipment: Molecular biology, computer modelling, electrophysiology, protein chemistry

Recent Selected Publications

Ryan RM, Kortt N, Sirivanta T, Vandenberg RJ  (2010) Journal of Neurochemistry (in press)

Mark Connor, Robert Vandenberg and Christopher Vaughan (2010).   British Journal of Pharmacology (in press)

Amelia Edington, Audra McKinzie, Aaron J. Reynolds, Michael Kassiou, Renae M. Ryan and Robert J. Vandenberg (2009) Journal of Biological Chemistry284:36424-36430

Huang S., Ryan, R.M. and Vandenberg, R.J. (2009) Journal of Biological Chemistry284, 4510-4515 

Robert J Vandenberg, Shiwei Huang and Renae M Ryan (2008). Channels 2, 51-58

Vandenberg R.J., Shaddick K. and Ju P. (2007) The Journal of Biological Chemistry 282, 14447-14453

Wiles A, Pearlman R-J, Rosvall M, Aubrey K and Vandenberg RJ (2006) Journal of Neurochemistry 99, 781-786

Ryan RM, Mitrovic AD and Vandenberg RJ (2004) The Journal of Biological Chemistry 279: 20742-20751

Ju P, Aubrey KR, Vandenberg RJ (2004) The Journal of Biological Chemistry 279: 22983-22991

Mitrovic AD, Plesko F and Vandenberg RJ (2001)..  Journal of Biological Chemistry 276, 26071 - 26076

Aubrey KR and Vandenberg RJ. (2001)  British Journal of Pharmacology 134, 1429-1436

Ryan RM and Vandenberg RJ (2002) The Journal of Biological Chemistry 277, 13494-13500


Characterization of Drug Binding sites on Glycine Transporters

Primary supervisor: Robert Vandenberg

Glycine is an unusual neurotransmitter in that it is both excitatory and inhibitory and a number of recent studies have suggested that inhibition of glycine transporter may be a very useful way of treating a variety of neurological disorders. Enhancement of excitatory neurotransmission by inhibition of the glycine transporter GLYT1 has recently been investigated as a potential antipsychotic therapy. Conversely, enhancement of inhibitory neurotransmission by inhibition of the glycine transporter GLYT2 shows particular promise in the development of novel analgesics in the treatment of chronic pain. This project will investigate the molecular basis for drug selectivity of GLYT1 and GLYT2 inhibitors so as to provide a detailed description of the three dimensional structure of the drug binding sites. This project will complement ongoing studies in the laboratory aimed at developing high affinity novel GLYT inhibitors as potential theraputics. In this project you will learn molecular biology techniques such as PCR, site-directed mutagenesis and also techniques in electrophysiology using Xenopus laevis oocytes.

Prospective honours students should come and see Robert Vandenberg or Renae Ryan to discuss these projects in more detail.

Discipline: Pharmacology
Co-supervisors: Renae Ryan