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Yulong LI

Yulong LI


Email: yulong(at)gmail(dot)com;


Lab Homepage: http://www.yulonglilab.org/


Research Area:

The human brain consists of billions of neurons, including thousands of cell types, connected to form networks by trillions of synapses. The interplay between distinct neuronal types through synapses by long range projections and short range local connections leads to cognitive brain functions such as perception, decision making and motor control. Neuromodulators control brain function by selectively recruiting or disengaging defined population of neurons through cell type-specific regulation of transmitter release, membrane excitability or both. The complex action of neuromodulators, the diversified neuronal cell types and the sophisticated anatomy of the brain together pose huge technical challenges for neuroscientists seeking to unravel the actions of neuromodulators within local circuitry. To overcome these problems, we are interested in developing a new palette of biosensors that can be used to visualize turnover of various neuromodulators. In addition, we are developing a novel genetically-encoded fluorescent detection platform that would enable the visualization of target activation by various neuromodulators in real time. Together, these efforts will not only yield new insights into the secretion and activation of neuromodulators with good spatial and temporal resolution, but also provide a novel fluorescent toolbox to the neuroscience community at large, enabling them to visualize their favorite neural circuit with cellular and synaptic specificity that is currently lacking.


Selected Publications:

1. Li Y, and Tsien RW, pHTomato, a red, genetically-encoded indicator that enables multiplex interrogation of synaptic activity. Nature Neuroscience. 2012, May 27; 15(7):1047-53.
2. Park H, Li Y and Tsien RW, Influence of synaptic vesicle position on release probability and exocytotic fusion mode. Science. 2012 Mar 16;335(6074):1362-6.
3. Yoo AS, Sun AX, Li L, Shcheglovitov A, Portmann T, Li Y, Lee-Messer C, Dolmetsch RE, Tsien RW, Crabtree GR, MicroRNA-mediated conversion of human fibroblasts to neurons. Nature. 2011 Jul 13;476(7359):228-31.
4. Zhang Q, Li Y, and Tsien RW, The dynamic control of kiss-and-run and vesicular reuse probed with single nanoparticles. Science. 2009 Mar 13;323(5920):1448-53.
5. Kuner T, Li Y, Gee K, Bonewald L, and Augustine G, Probing the timing of NSF action during exocytosis Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jan 8;105(1):347-52.
6. Li Y, Augustine G, and Weninger K, Kinetics of complexin binding to the SNARE complex: correcting single molecule FRET measurements for hidden events Biophys J. 2007 Sep 15;93(6):2178-87.



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