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Noelle L Etoile Ph.D.

Mechanisms of Cellular and Behavioral Plasticity

Noelle L Etoile Ph.D.

Our focus has been on the cell biological processes that promote and maintain sensory signaling and neuronal plasticity throughout development.  Neurons are the front-line of an organism’s response to its environment.  Thus, understanding how their signaling components organize to perceive and transmit information both in response to novel and persistent cues is key to understanding behavior.  We are testing the hypothesis that signaling pathways act via small RNAs to modify chromatin thereby allowing for experience-dependent changes in the output response.   We utilize C. elegansfor our investigations because this nematode, with only 1,000 cells and 302 neurons exhibits robust behavioral plasticity and we can use cell biological, genetic, behavioral, physiological and molecular techniques to understand the molecular details that underlie experience driven changes in behavior.  The molecular and cellular logic that underlies behavioral plasticity in C. elegans is likely to be utilized in the nervous system of higher organisms and humans and insight we gain from examining this nematode may inform both normal processes such as learning and memory as well as help us understand what goes awry in disease states such as addiction and perhaps attention deficit disorders. Our particular focus is on the olfactory sensory circuit of C. elegans.


Selected publications:

O'Halloran DM, Hamilton OS, Lee JI, Gallegos M, L'Etoile ND(2012). Changes in cGMP levels affect the localization of EGL-4 in AWC in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS One, 7(2):e31614.

Lee JI, O'Halloran DM, Eastham-Anderson J, Juang BT, Kaye JA, Scott Hamilton O, Lesch B, Goga A,L'Etoile ND(2010). Nuclear entry of a cGMP-dependent kinase converts transient into long-lasting olfactory adaptation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 13:6016-6021.

Swarbrick A, Woods SL, Shaw A, Balakrishnan A, Phua Y, Nguyen A, Chanthery Y, Lim L, Ashton LJ, Judson RL, Huskey N, Blelloch R, Haber M, Norris MD, Lengyel P, Hackett CS, Preiss T, Chetcuti A, Sullivan CS, Marcusson EG, Weiss W, L'Etoile N, Goga A. (2010). miR-380-5p represses p53 to control cellular survival and is associated with poor outcome in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Nature Medicine.10:1134-40.

O'Halloran DM, Altshuler-Keylin S, Lee JI, L'Etoile ND(2009). Regulators of AWC-mediated olfactory plasticity in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genetics, 12:e1000761.

Kaye J.A., Rose N.C. Goldsworthy B., Goga A., L'Etoile N.D(2009). A 3'UTR pumilio-binding                     element directs translational activation in olfactory sensory neurons. Neuron, 61:57-70.

L'Etoile, N.D., Coburn, C.M., Eastham, J.R., Kistler, A., Gallegos, G., and Bargmann, C.I. (2002). The cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase EGL-4 regulates olfactory adaptation in C. elegans. Neuron, 36: 1079-1089.

Dwyer, N.D., Adler, C.E., Crump, J.G., L'Etoile, N.D., Bargmann, C.I. (2001). The AP-1 B1 clathrin adaptor UNC-101 mediates odorant receptor localization to olfactory cilia. Neuron, 31: 277-287.

L'Etoile, N.D., and Bargmann, C.I. (2000). Olfaction and Odor Discrimination are Mediated by the C elegans Guanylyl Cyclase ODR- 1. Neuron 25, 575-586.

L'Etoile, N.D., Fahnestock, M.L., Shen, Y., Aebersold, R., and Arnold J. Berk (1994). Human TFIIIC Box B-Binding Subunit. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91, 1652-1656.