A sample of active projects in the lab
Neurotensin (NTS) is a 13-AA neuropeptide expressed throughout the brain and has been shown to play a role in modulating reward and anxiety-like behaviors. We are interested in NTS expressed in several key nuclei, what it is doing there, and what the neurons that express NTS are doing. Our data suggests that NTS expressing neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala are playing an interesting role in the regulation of alcohol-related behaviors.
Norepinephrine (NE) is a catecholamine produced by multiple cell clusters in the pons and medula (as well as sympathetic ganglia and adrenal gland). We are interested in how NE modulates learning and memory, stress responsivity, anxiety, drug and alcohol use, and other behaviors. In particular we're interested in how NE modulates the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, a component of the extended amygdala receiving the densest NE innervation in the brain!
Selected Research Publications
Berrios J, Stamatakis AM, Kantak PA, McElligott ZA, Judson MC, Aita M, Rougie M, Stuber GD, Philpot BD Loss of UBE3A from TH-expressing neurons suppresses GABA co-release and enhances VTA-NAc optical self-stimualtion (2016) Feb 12
Li C, Sugam JA, Lowery-Gionta EG, McElligott ZA, McCall NM, Lopez AJ, McKlveen JM, Pleil KE, Kash TL Mu Opioid Receptor Modulation of Dopamine Neurons in the Periaqueductal Gray/Dorsal Raphe: A Role in Regulation of Pain (2016) Jan 21
Radke AK, Jury NJ, Marcinkiewcz CA, Lowery-Gionta EG, Pleil KE, McElligott ZA, McKlveen JM, Kash TL, Holmes A Chronic EtOH effects on putative measures of compulsive behavior in mice (2015) Dec 12
McElligott Z Optogenetic and Chemogenetic Approaches to Advance Monitoring Molecules ACS Chemical Neuroscience (2015) Jul 15;6(7):944-7
McElligott ZA, Fox ME, Walsh PL, Urban DJ, Ferrel MS, Roth BL, Wightman RM Noradrenergic Synaptic Function in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis Varies in Animal Models of Anxiety and Addiction. Neuropsychopharmacology (2013) Aug: 38 (9): 1665-73.
Walsh PL, Kile BM, McElligott ZA, Bucher ES, Salahpour A, Caron MG, Wightman RM Improving the Temporal Resolution of Fast-Scan Cyclic Voltammetry. ACS Chemical Neuroscience (2012) April; 3(4):285-292
Herr NR, Park JW, McElligott ZA, Belle AM, Carelli RM and Wightman RM In Vivo Voltammetry Monitoring of Electrically Evoked Extracellular Norepinephrine in Subregions of the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis.Journal of Neurophysiology (2012) March; 107(6):1731-7
McElligott ZA, Klug J, Nobis W, Patel S, Grueter BA, Kash TL and Winder DG Distinct forms of Gq-receptor-dependent plasticity of excitatory transmission in the BNST are differentially affected by stress.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010) Feb 2; 107 (5)
McElligott ZA and Winder DG, α1-adrenergic receptors induce heterosynaptic long term depression of excitatory transmission in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis that is disrupted in mouse models of affective disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology (2008) Sep: 33(10):2313-23.