Nesfatin-1’s effects on energy homeostasis: dissecting the role of PVN and NTS oxytocin neurons

Project Description:

Energy homeostasis reflects the balance of energy availability (food intake and energy stores) and energy expenditure. One important signal relaying information about energy stores to the central nervous system is the adipokine nesfatin-1. In the central nervous system, it closely interacts with the oxytocin system to reduce food intake. Whether the same interaction also underlies the effects of nesfatin-1 on energy expenditure and which central nervous structures are involved, remains to be elucidated. 

In this project, we aim to assess nesfatin-1’s interaction with central nervous oxytocin neurons and to dissect the contribution of different neuron populations with the help of optogenetics, a recently developed technique which allows targeted activation or silencing of neurons with high temporal and special resolution.

Experimental Methods:

  • Optogenetic activation and silencing of neurons
  • Working with genetically modified mice
  • Recombinant AAV mediated genome engineering
  • Measurement of energy expenditure (direct and indirect calorimetry) and feeding microstructure
  • Stereotaxic surgery in mice
  • DNA and RNA extraction
  • PCR, qRT-PCR