PhD student, The University of Sydney, Brain and Mind Centre


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder worldwide. It results in the irreversible loss of motor function, gastrointestinal and olfactory dysfunction, sleep dysfunction, cognitive decline, depression and ultimately dementia. The disease is progressively disabling with no mechanistic treatments, largely because the cause remains unclear. We have recently established that LRRK2 is part of the major inflammatory regulating toll-like receptor (TLR) signalling pathway. This project aims to determine how the most common pathogenic LRRK2 mutation, G2019S, affects TLR inflammatory signalling. In this project we are using CRIPSR/Cas9 genome editing technology to understand the extent to which downstream functions of TLR signalling are modulated by LRRK2 mutation.


A fresh look at the male-specific region of the human Y chromosome.

Abstract: The Chromosome-centric Human Proteome Project (C-HPP) aims to systematically map the entire human proteome with the intent to enhance our understanding of human biology at the cellular level. This project attempts simultaneously to establish a sound basis for the development of diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic, and preventive medical applications. In Iran, current efforts focus on mapping the proteome of the human Y chromosome. The male-specific region of the Y chromosome (MSY) is unique in many aspects and comprises 95% of the chromosome's length. The MSY continually retains its haploid state and is full of repeated sequences. It is responsible for important biological roles such as sex determination and male fertility. Here, we present the most recent update of MSY protein-encoding genes and their association with various traits and diseases including sex determination and reversal, spermatogenesis and male infertility, cancers such as prostate cancers, sex-specific effects on the brain and behavior, and graft-versus-host disease. We also present information available from RNA sequencing, protein-protein interaction, post-translational modification of MSY protein-coding genes and their implications in biological systems. An overview of Human Y chromosome Proteome Project is presented and a systematic approach is suggested to ensure that at least one of each predicted protein-coding gene's major representative proteins will be characterized in the context of its major anatomical sites of expression, its abundance, and its functional relevance in a biological and/or medical context. There are many technical and biological issues that will need to be overcome in order to accomplish the full scale mapping.

Pub.: 21 Dec '12, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

Isoform-Level Gene Expression Profiles of Human Y Chromosome Azoospermia Factor Genes and Their X Chromosome Paralogs in the Testicular Tissue of Non-Obstructive Azoospermia Patients.

Abstract: The human Y chromosome has an inevitable role in male fertility because it contains many genes critical for spermatogenesis and the development of the male gonads. Any genetic variation or epigenetic modification affecting the expression pattern of Y chromosome genes may thus lead to male infertility. In this study, we performed isoform-level gene expression profiling of Y chromosome genes within the azoospermia factor (AZF) regions, their X chromosome counterparts, and few autosomal paralogues in testicular biopsies of 12 men with preserved spermatogenesis and 68 men with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) (40 Sertoli-cell-only syndrome (SCOS) and 28 premiotic maturation arrest (MA)). This was undertaken using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) at the transcript level and Western blotting (WB) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) at the protein level. We profiled the expression of 41 alternative transcripts encoded by 14 AZFa, AZFb, and AZFc region genes (USP9Y, DDX3Y, XKRY, HSFY1, CYORF15A, CYORF15B, KDM5D, EIF1AY, RPS4Y2, RBMY1A1, PRY, BPY2, DAZ1, and CDY1) as well as their X chromosome homologue transcripts and a few autosomal homologues. Of the 41 transcripts, 18 were significantly down-regulated in men with NOA when compared with those of men with complete spermatogenesis. In contrast, the expression of five transcripts increased significantly in NOA patients. Furthermore, to confirm the qPCR results at the protein level, we performed immunoblotting and IHC experiments (based on 24 commercial and homemade antibodies) that detected 10 AZF-encoded proteins. In addition, their localization in testis cell types and organelles was determined. Interestingly, the two missing proteins, XKRY and CYORF15A, were detected for the first time. Finally, we focused on the expression patterns of the significantly altered genes in 12 MA patients with successful sperm retrieval compared to those of 12 MA patients with failed sperm retrieval to predict the success of sperm retrieval in azoospermic men. We showed that HSFY1-1, HSFY1-3, BPY2-1, KDM5C2, RBMX2, and DAZL1 transcripts could be used as potential molecular markers to predict the presence of spermatozoa in MA patients. In this study, we have identified isoform level signature that can be used to discriminate effectively between MA, SCOS, and normal testicular tissues and suggests the possibility of diagnosing the presence of mature sperm cell in azoospermic men to prevent additional testicular sperm extraction (TESE) surgery.

Pub.: 15 Jul '15, Pinned: 30 Aug '17