David Turner, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute
Associate Professor, Biological Chemistry

5051 BSRB, Box 2200

(734) 647-6890


Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, Medical School
Biological Chemistry, Medical School

Areas of Interest

During mammalian neurogenesis, a complex cascade of gene regulation controls the formation of hundreds of different types of neurons and glia. Cells exit from the cell cycle, migrate to appropriate locations, and differentiate into neurons appropriate to their location within the central nervous system (CNS). We are interested in understanding the regulatory processes that control neurogenesis and cell fate in the CNS. Recent and ongoing projects in the laboratory focus on transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of gene expression in the CNS.

Basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors such as Neurog2 and Ascl1 can drive cell cycle exit and neuronal differentiation of competent cells. These proteins can influence neural cell cycle exit in part by modulating the Hippo/Yap pathway. We are interested in understanding these and other events regulated by bHLH proteins during neuronal differentiation. We use RNAi, RNAseq, and other methods to assess gene function.

MicroRNAs are endogenous small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the level of RNA stability and translation, with critical roles in neural development. We are profiling microRNA expression by deep sequencing, as well as using protein-RNA crosslinking and sequencing (PAR-CLIP) to identify microRNA targets in the CNS and other systems. We are particularly interested in identifying microRNAs involved in the formation or function of specific types of neurons.

Honors & Awards

2003 Wilson Scholar

Published Articles or Reviews

Farah, M. H., Olson, J. M., Sucic, H. B., Hume, R. I., Tapscott, S. J., and Turner, D. L. (2000). Generation of neurons by transient expression of neural bHLH proteins in mammalian cells. Development: 127, 693-702.

Yu, J-Y., DeRuiter, S. L., and Turner, D. L. (2002). RNA interference by expression of short-interfering RNAs and hairpin RNAs in mammalian cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 99: 6047-6052

Vojtek, A. B., Taylor, J., DeRuiter, S., Yu, J-Y., Kwok, R. P. S., and Turner, D. L. (2003). Akt regulates basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor-coactivator complex formation and activity during neuronal differentiation. Molecular and Cellular Biology 23: 4417-4427. PMID: 12808085

Chung, K.-H., Hart, C. C., Al-Bassam, S., Avery, A., Taylor, J., Patel, P.D., Vojtek, A.B., and Turner D. L. (2006). Polycistronic RNA polymerase II expression vectors for RNA interference based on BIC/miR-155. Nucleic Acids Res. 34: e53. PMID: 16614444

Deo, M., Yu, J-Y., Chung, K-H., Tippens, M. and Turner, D.L. (2006). Detection of mammalian microRNA expression by in situ hybridization with RNA oligonucleotides. Developmental Dynamics, 235: 2538-48. PMID: 16736490

Thompson, R.C., Deo, M., and Turner, D. L. (2007). Analysis of microRNA expression by in situ hybridization with RNA oligonucleotide probes. Methods 43: 153-161. PMID: 17889803

Yu, J-Y., Chung, K-H., , Deo, M., Thompson, R. C. and Turner, D. L. (2008). MicroRNA miR-124a regulates neurite outgrowth during neuronal differentiation. Exp. Cell Res. 314: 2618-2633. PMID: 18619591

Dickson H.M., Zurawski J., Zhang H., Turner D.L., Vojtek A.B. (2010). POSH is an intracellular signal transducer for the axon outgrowth inhibitor Nogo66. J. Neurosci. 30: 13319-25. PMID: 20926658

 Zhang H., Deo, M, Thompson, R. C., Uhler, M. D. and Turner, D. L. (2012). Negative regulation of Yap during neuronal differentiation. Dev Biol. 361: 103-15. PMID: 22037235

For a complete list of this person’s PubMed publications, click HERE