In 2012 Dr. Messing’s lab moved to The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Messing is now an affiliated investigator at the Gallo Center.
My laboratory studies molecular mechanisms that underlie addiction and co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and pain. We have focused on signal transduction pathways that involve the protein kinase C (PKC) family of serine-threonine kinases. In cultured neuronal cell lines, ethanol alters the localization and increases the abundance of two PKC isozymes, PKCdelta and PKCepsilon. In addition, comparative transcriptome analysis of mice that show high versus low ethanol consumption has shown that PKCepsilon and PKCzeta are highly expressed in the brains of mice that consume large amounts of ethanol. Therefore, my laboratory is examining PKCdelta, PKCepsilon, and PKCzeta to understand the role of these kinases and their signaling pathways in behavior and to identify targets for the development of new therapeutic agents to treat addiction. The techniques we use include gene targeting, RNA interference, and chemical genetics with mutant kinases that utilize ATP analogs.