Zhao-Wen Wang, Ph.D.Professor of Neuroscience
Faculty in Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Genetics & Developmental Biology Graduate Programs
|M.S.||Third Military Medical University||Medicine and Physiology|
|Ph.D.||Michigan State University||Physiology/Neuroscience|
|Postdoctoral||University of Pennsylvania||Electrophysiology|
|Name of Award/Honor||Awarding Organization|
|National Research Service Award (Individual), 1996-1999|
|National Research Service Award (Institutional), 1995-1996|
|Name & Description||Category||Role||Type||Scope||Start Year||End Year|
|Science Advances||Professional/Scientific Journal||Reviewer||External||International||2020||2020|
|Genetic Society of American||Professional/Scientific Organization||Member||External||National||2005|
|Society for Neuroscience||Professional/Scientific Organization||Member||External||National||2002|
|Biophysical Society||Professional/Scientific Organization||Member||External||National||2002|
|General Examination Committee (Student Pengyu Zong)||Advisory Committee||Chair||UConn Health||University|
Regulation of neurotransmitter release by Ca2+ and Ca2+-sensitive proteins
Function and regulation of gap junctions
My lab uses the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as a model organism to study molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release, and the function and regulation of gap junctions. C. elegans is a very powerful model system for studying fundamental biological problems, which is highlighted by the award of two recent Noble prizes (Physiology or Medicine, 2002 and 2006) to scientists studying C. elegans.
Ca2+ plays key roles in neurotransmitter release. It triggers the release by directly binding to Ca2+ sensor(s) at the presynaptic site, and regulates the release by modulating the activities of several presynaptic proteins. We study the functions of presynaptic voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, ryanodine receptor (a Ca2+-releasing channel in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane), BK channel (a large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel), and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) in neurotransmitter release, and try to determine whether and how these proteins interact at the presynaptic site. These research programs have the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission.
Gap junctions are intercellular channels that are almost ubiquitously expressed. However, their biological functions and regulations are still poorly understood. My lab was the first (so far the only one) to adapt the dual whole-cell voltage clamp technique to the analysis of electrical coupling in C. elegans. We use a combination of electrophysiological, genetic, and cell biological techniques to identify and characterize conserved mechanisms of gap junction assembly and regulation.
Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023
Channel-independent function of UNC-9/Innexin in spatial arrangement of GABAergic synapses in <i>C. elegans</i>.
eLife 2022 Nov;11
Recording Gap Junction Current from Xenopus Oocytes.
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE 2022 Jan;(179):
GABAergic motor neurons bias locomotor decision-making in C. elegans.
Nature communications 2020 Oct;11(1):5076
Melatonin promotes sleep by activating the BK channel in C. elegans.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2020 Oct;117(40):25128-25137
Molecular basis of junctional current rectification at an electrical synapse.
Science advances 2020 Jul;6(27):eabb3076
Slo2 potassium channel function depends on RNA editing-regulated expression of a SCYL1 protein.
eLife 2020 Apr;9
Integration of Plasticity Mechanisms within a Single Sensory Neuron of C. elegans Actuates a Memory.
Neuron 2018 Jan;97(2):356-367.e4
BKIP-1, an auxiliary subunit critical to SLO-1 function, inhibits SLO-2 potassium channel in vivo.
Scientific reports 2017 Dec;7(1):17843
HRPU-2, a homologue of mammalian hnRNP U, regulates synaptic transmission by controlling the expression of SLO-2 potassium channel in C. elegans.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2017 Dec;381073-1084
AIP limits neurotransmitter release by inhibiting calcium bursts from the ryanodine receptor.
Nature communications 2017 Nov;8(1):1380
Antidromic-rectifying gap junctions amplify chemical transmission at functionally mixed electrical-chemical synapses.
Nature communications 2017 Mar;814818
SLO-2 potassium channel is an important regulator of neurotransmitter release in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Nature communications 2014 Jan;55155
Postsynaptic current bursts instruct action potential firing at a graded synapse.
Nature communications 2013 Jan;4(4):1911
Track-a-worm, an open-source system for quantitative assessment of C. elegans locomotory and bending behavior.
PloS one 2013 Jan;8(7):e69653
A novel auxiliary subunit critical to BK channel function in Caenorhabditis elegans.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010 Dec;30(49):16651-61
Origin of quantal size variation and high-frequency miniature postsynaptic currents at the Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junction.
Journal of neuroscience research 2010 Dec;88(16):3425-32
Presynaptic Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II modulates neurotransmitter release by activating BK channels at Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junction.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2007 Sep;27(39):10404-13
UNC-1 regulates gap junctions important to locomotion in C. elegans.
Current biology : CB 2007 Aug;17(15):1334-9
A quantum of neurotransmitter causes minis in multiple postsynaptic cells at the Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junction.
Developmental neurobiology 2007 Feb;67(2):123-8
Regulation of synaptic transmission by RAB-3 and RAB-27 in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Molecular biology of the cell 2006 Jun;17(6):2617-25
Low conductance gap junctions mediate specific electrical coupling in body-wall muscle cells of Caenorhabditis elegans.
The Journal of biological chemistry 2006 Mar;281(12):7881-9
Presynaptic ryanodine receptors are required for normal quantal size at the Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junction.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2005 Jul;25(29):6745-54
Redundant localization mechanisms of RIM and ELKS in Caenorhabditis elegans.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2005 Jun;25(25):5975-83
Dissection of K+ currents in Caenorhabditis elegans muscle cells by genetics and RNA interference.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2003 Nov;100(24):14391-6
Evolution tunes the excitability of individual neurons.
Neuroscience 2001 Jan;103(4):853-9
SLO-1 potassium channels control quantal content of neurotransmitter release at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction.
Neuron 2001 Jan;32867-881
Genomic organization of nematode 4TM K+ channels.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1999 Apr;868286-303
Redox regulation of large conductance Ca(2+)-activated K+ channels in smooth muscle cells.
The Journal of general physiology 1997 Jul;110(1):35-44
Activation of KCa channels in airway smooth muscle cells by endogenous protein kinase A.
The American journal of physiology 1996 Jul;271(1 Pt 1):L100-5
Acetylcholine release from airway cholinergic nerves in horses with heaves, an airway obstructive disease.
American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 1995 Mar;151(3 Pt 1):830-5
Catecholamine affects acetylcholine release in trachea: alpha 2-mediated inhibition and beta 2-mediated augmentation.
The American journal of physiology 1995 Mar;268(3 Pt 1):L368-73
Prejunctional muscarinic autoreceptors on horse airway cholinergic nerves.
Life sciences 1995 Jan;56(25):2255-62
Modulation of bronchial smooth muscle function in horses with heaves.
Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985) 1994 Nov;77(5):2149-54
PGE2 inhibits acetylcholine release from cholinergic nerves in canine but not equine airways.
Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids 1994 Nov;51(5):347-55
Inhibitory nerve distribution and mediation of NANC relaxation by nitric oxide in horse airways.
Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985) 1994 Jan;76(1):339-44
Prejunctional alpha 2-adrenoceptors inhibit acetylcholine release from cholinergic nerves in equine airways.
The American journal of physiology 1993 Dec;265(6 Pt 1):L565-70
Independent modulation of horse airway smooth muscle by epithelium and prostanoids.
Respiration physiology 1993 Sep;93(3):279-88
ACh release from horse airway cholinergic nerves: effects of stimulation intensity and muscle preload.
The American journal of physiology 1993 Mar;264(3 Pt 1):L269-75
Exogenous but not endogenous PGE2 modulates pony tracheal smooth muscle contractions.
Pulmonary pharmacology 1992 Dec;5(4):225-31
The inhibitory effect of furosemide on the contractile response of equine trachealis to cholinergic nerve stimulation.
Pulmonary pharmacology 1992 Dec;5(4):233-8
Molecular Mechanisms of Neurotransmitter Release.
Humana Press. 2008 Jan;
Roles and sources of calcium in synaptic exocytosis.
Molecular Mechanisms of Neurotransmitter Release 2008 Jan;61-84
The impact of the C. elegans genome project on potassium channel biology.
Potassium Ion Channels: Molecular Structure, Function and Diseases 1999 Jan;9-27
Regulation of synaptic transmission by presynaptic CaMKII and BK channels.
Molecular neurobiology 2008 Oct;38(2):153-66