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Syed Munim Husain

MSci (Hons), MSc

DPhil Student

  • mRNA transcription
  • tissue-specific splicing
  • molecular genetics

Comparing CACNA1C transcripts across tissues

The CACNA1C gene is strongly associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and is therefore an attractive target for drug development in psychiatric disease. However, it is widely expressed outside the brain - particularly in smooth and cardiac muscle.Therefore, drugs targeting CACNA1C may likely cause serious cardiovascular side-effects. 

By studying how mRNA transcripts are differentially regulated across tissues, we may be able to overcome this issue. CACNA1C is known to exist in different isoforms generated by alternative splicing, which are expressed at different levels between tissues.

By identifying which isoforms are enriched or specific to the brain, it may be possible to guide the development of drugs that are specific to the brain and lack systemic side-effects. 

I do this by combining molecular biology approaches to directly sequence CACNA1C isoforms, as well as bioinformatic analysis of existing datasets to characterize the significance of alternatively spliced exons.