Research objectives and content
The cellular events which regulate melatonin synthesis in the pineal gland are not well understood. N-acetyltransferase (NAT) is the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of melatonin, and is under the control of a circadian pacemaker in the pineal gland of many vertebrates. The pineal gland of the Zebra fish contains an endogenous circadian pacemaker. I propose to study the circadian transcriptional regulation of NAT activation; which transcription factors and kinases are responsible for the nocturnal increase in NAT transcription. Also the development of the circadian system in the Zebra fish embryo will be examined, as well as the embryonic target tissues of this hormone.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
As part of this project I wil receive training in a range of molecular techniques available in the laboratory of Dr Sassone Corsi. In addition developmental techniques and the use of the Zebra fish as a model system will be learned. This basic research will have considerable impact on our understanding of melatonin synthesis and function: important information considering the current siqnificance and use of this hormone.