- Associate Professor, Neuroscience
- Phone: 434-924-8647
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/neurosci/Faculty/Liu/liu.cfm
Spinal Cord Development and Motor Neuron Differentiation
I am interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that control the generation of different neuronal types along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis of the spinal cord, using motor neurons as a model system. Spinal motor neurons in the ventral spinal cord extend axons to innervate peripheral muscle targets originating at equivalent A-P levels during embryonic development. I am studying the functions of the Hox-c cluster genes in order to understand how different motor neurons are generated along the A-P axis and how motor neuron identity affects axonal path finding and target selection. Different Hox-c cluster genes are expressed in distinct but overlapping domains along the A-P axis of the spinal cord. Using chick neural explants in an in vitro culture system, I have demonstrated that both paraxial mesoderm and tissues around Hensen's node initiate the patterned expression of different Hox-c genes in the spinal cord. The secreted molecules from these tissues that induce this patterning event include Fgf8, Gdf11, and retinoic acid. Currently, I am trying to identify genes acting down-stream of these signaling molecules that are required for patterned Hox-c gene expression. I am also addressing the functions of Hox-c genes in defining motor neuron identity and target selection by mis-expressing or removing Hox-c gene function specifically in the spinal motor neurons using transgenic approaches.
- Czajkowsky D, Liu J, Hamlin J, Shao Z. DNA combing reveals intrinsic temporal disorder in the replication of yeast chromosome VI. J Mol Biol. 2008;375(1): 12-9. PMCID: PMC2151843
- Dehlin E, Liu J, Yun S, Fox E, Snyder S, Gineste C, Willingham L, Geysen M, Gaylinn B, Sando J. Regulation of ghrelin structure and membrane binding by phosphorylation. Peptides. 2008;29(6): 904-11. PMCID: PMC2413428
- Liu J, Czajkowsky D, Liang S, Shao Z. Cell cycle-dependent nucleosome occupancy at cohesin binding sites in yeast chromosomes. Genomics. 2008;91(3): 274-80. PMCID: PMC2268989
- Liu J, Prudom C, Nass R, Pezzoli S, Oliveri M, Johnson M, Veldhuis P, Gordon D, Howard A, Witcher D, Geysen H, Gaylinn B, Thorner M. Novel ghrelin assays provide evidence for independent regulation of ghrelin acylation and secretion in healthy young men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(5): 1980-7. PMCID: PMC2386282
- Nass R, Farhy L, Liu J, Prudom C, Johnson M, Veldhuis P, Pezzoli S, Oliveri M, Gaylinn B, Geysen H, Thorner M. Evidence for acyl-ghrelin modulation of growth hormone release in the fed state. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(5): 1988-94. PMCID: PMC2386275
- Chai W, Liu J, Jahn L, Fowler D, Barrett E, Liu Z. Salsalate attenuates free fatty acid-induced microvascular and metabolic insulin resistance in humans. Diabetes Care. 34(7): 1634-8. PMCID: PMC3120177
- Liu J, Ford R, Smith J. Idling time of motile bacteria contributes to retardation and dispersion in sand porous medium. Environ Sci Technol. 45(9): 3945-51.
- Liu J, Kibiki G, Maro V, Maro A, Kumburu H, Swai N, Taniuchi M, Gratz J, Toney D, Kang G, Houpt E. Multiplex reverse transcription PCR Luminex assay for detection and quantitation of viral agents of gastroenteritis. J Clin Virol. 50(4): 308-13. PMCID: PMC3059344
- Shi Y, Liu J. Gdf11 facilitates temporal progression of neurogenesis in the developing spinal cord. J Neurosci. 31(3): 883-93.
- Strobel K, McGowan S, Bauer R, Griebler C, Liu J, Ford R. Chemotaxis increases vertical migration and apparent transverse dispersion of bacteria in a bench-scale microcosm. Biotechnol Bioeng. 108(9): 2070-7.