Janine LaSalle, Ph.D.
Our laboratory is interested in the role of epigenetics in human autism-spectrum disorders. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in chromosomes that are not encoded in the DNA sequence, including DNA methylation and chromatin organization. The clinical applications of our research include understanding the pathogenesis of the neurodevelopmental disorders autism, Rett syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Angelman syndrome. Our laboratory has recently focused on a protein that binds to methylated DNA, methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2). The gene for MECP2 is on the X chromosome and is mutated in Rett syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. We are currently testing the role of MeCP2 in the regulation of gene expression and the organization of parentally imprinted chromosomes. We are also investigating the role of MeCP2 in chromatin dynamics neuronal ontogeny during post-natal neuronal maturation in the cerebral cortex.
Yasui DH, Scoles HA, Horike S, Meguro-Horike M, Dunaway KW, Schroeder DI, LaSalle JM. 2011. 15q11.2-q13.3 chromatin analysis reveals epigenetic regulation of CHRNA7 with deficiencies in Rett and autism brain. Hum. Mol Genet. Aug 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21840925.
Schroeder DI, Lott P, Korf I, and LaSalle JM. 2011. Large-scale methylation domains mark a functional subset of neuronally expressed genes. Genome Res. Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21784875.
LaSalle JM. 2011. A genomic point-of-view on environmental factors influencing the human brain methylome. Epigenetics Jul 1;6(7). PMID: 21617367.
Meguro-Horike M, Yasui DH, Powell W, Schroeder DI, Oshimura M, LaSalle JM, and Horike S. 2011. 15q11-q13 homologous pairing and transcription are impaired in a novel neuronal model of 15q duplication syndrome. Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21725066.
Singleton MK, Gonzales ML, Leung, KN, Yasui DH, Schroeder DI, Dunaway K, LaSalle JM. 2011. MeCP2 is required for global heterochromatic and nucleolar changes during activity-dependent neuronal maturation. Neurobiology of Disease, 43(1):190-200. PMID: 21268055.
Leung KN, Chamberlain SJ, Lalande M, and LaSalle JM. 2011. Neuronal chromatin dynamics of imprinting in development and disease. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 112:365-373.
Mitchell MM, Lleo A, Zammataro, L, Mayo MJ, Invernizzi P, Bach N, Shimoda S, Gordon S, Podda M, Gershwin ME, Selmi C, LaSalle JM. 2010. Epigenetic investigation of variably X chromosome inactivated genes in monozygotic female twins discordant for primary biliary cirrhosis. Epigenetics. PMID: 20864813.
Maezawa I, Swanberg S, Harvey D, LaSalle JM, and Jin LW. 2009. Rett syndrome astrocytes are abnormal and spread MeCP2 deficiency through gap junctions. J. Neurosci. 29:5051-5061.
Leung KN, Vallero RO, DuBose AJ, Resnick JL, LaSalle JM. 2009. Imprinting regulates mammalian snoRNA-encoding chromatin decondensation and neuronal nucleolar size. Hum. Mol. Genet., 18:4227-4238. PMCID: 19656775.