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The Role of Translational Control in Cortical Dysgenesis in Mammalian Brain

Principal Investigator:
  • Guang Yang, The Hospital For Sick Children

Project Overview

Dr. Yang is studying genetic mechanisms that alter brain development at a molecular and cellular level, leading to changes implicated in autism spectrum disorder. He does this by studying messenger RNA translation. Previously, Dr. Yang had focused on the elF4E gene, a regulator of mRNA translation, which is genetically altered in individuals with
autism spectrum disorder. He was able to show that the elF4E gene plays an essential role in maintaining neural precursor cells and controlling neurogenesis during embryonic cortical development. Dr. Yang has successfully extended his work, and found that the 4E-T protein has an important role in forming a complex with elF4E to regulate neurogenesis, through an interacting protein known as Smaug2. These findings provide new insights in the underlying biological mechanism of neural development and autism spectrum disorder. The paper describing this work has been viewed 1558 times by thousands of scientists around the world. Dr. Yang has presented at several local conferences, including the Canadian Association of Neuroscience, and was the recipient of the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction- Canadian Institutes of Health Research Brain Star Award