Bryan McGill, MD, a researcher in the Milbrandt lab, had a paper published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience. The article, “Abnormal Microglia and Enhanced Inflammation-Related Gene Transcription in Mice with Conditional Deletion of Ctcf in Camk2a-Cre-Expressing Neurons,” looks at CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), an 11 zinc finger DNA-binding domain protein that regulates gene expression by modifying three dimensional chromatin structure. McGill and his fellow researchers found that inflammation and dysfunctional neuron-microglia interactions are factors in the pathology of CTCF deficiency.
“This project was interesting to me because knocking out a gene in neurons caused an unexpected and dramatic phenotype in another cell type, microglia. I really wasn’t expecting that,” McGill said. “It will be exciting to see if modulating microglial action has any effect on the phenotype that we see in animals.”