Serotonin, Key Sexual Orientation

Molecular regulation of sexual preference revealed by genetic studies of 5-HT in the brains of male mice. Although the question of to whom a male directs his mating attempts1, 2 is a critical one in social interactions, little is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling mammalian sexual preference. Here we report that the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is required for male sexual preference. Wild-type male mice preferred females over males, but males lacking central serotonergic neurons lost sexual preference although they were not generally defective in olfaction or in pheromone sensing. A role for 5-HT was demonstrated by the phenotype of mice lacking tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2), which is required for the first step of 5-HT synthesis in the brain. Thirty-five minutes after the injection of the intermediate 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which circumvented Tph2 to restore 5-HT to the wild-type level, adult Tph2 knockout mice also preferred females over males. These results

indicate that 5-HT and serotonergic neurons in the adult brain regulate mammalian sexual preference.  –  Dr. Yi Rao’s Lab.  Research Description: e have two major lines of research: the molecular studies of neuronal polarity in mammals and genetic analysis of behavior in Drosophila. olarity is a basic cellular feature. Each neuron usually has an axon and multiple dendrites, each of which play different roles: axons usually send signals and dendrites receive them. Abnormalities in neuronal polarity disrupt informational flow in the nervous system. Molecular and subcellular studies of neuronal polarity will contribute to our understanding of the basic mechanisms and may also suggest new approaches to facilitate recovery after neural injuries. Our lab currently focuses on signal transduction pathways involved in establishing and maintaining neuronal polarity. We use genetic approaches to study behavior in Drosophila. The initial attempts are made to explore the origins of complex behavior in Drosophila and establish Drosophila models of these behavioral paradigms. Once established, these models will make it possible to identify important mutants and their genetic basis. The identification of these genes will allow for further molecular and neuronal network level studies on the specific pathways responsible for behavioral traits in Drosophila.  –  The National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS, Beijing)

was established to advance the frontier of basic research in the life sciences in China. Founded in 2003 as part of a strategic government initiative to further national development of science and technology, NIBS aims to become a first rate, internationally competitive research institution. Its faculty will educate future generations of life scientists and explore a new model for operating scientific institutions in China.The major components of NIBS are its research laboratories and core facilities. The Principal Investigators (PIs) are selected from a highly competitive international applicant pool. Upon invitation by the NIBS Director, a Selection Committee evaluates the applicants and recommends candidates for appointment, and the Director makes the final decision. A PI shall serve for 5 years and the reappointment is contingent upon academic evaluations by the SAB and the Director’s evaluation of the PI’s research and contribution to the future development of NIBS. Heads of the core facility will be appointed by the Director. IBS is backed by the full support of the Chinese leadership. The Board of Trustees (BOT) is responsible for institute policy and consists of representatives from eight agencies, including the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC), and the Beijing Municipal Government. MOST and the Beijing Municipal Government are primarily responsible for

overseeing the operation of NIBS and provide the major sources of funding. The term for each BOT member is 3 years and its members may be reappointed. The Director is responsible for the daily operations of NIBS under the leadership of the BOT. The BOT shall further select well-known scientists to serve on a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB is consulted on issues related to PI appointment and research development. Its mission is also to select and advise the Director and provide support as needed to the BOT. The initial term of appointment to the SAB is three years, and its members may be reappointed.The appointment of Director of NIBS is made following a rigorous international search process. After the BOT issues a call for applications, the SAB evaluates submissions and makes recommendations to the BOT, which makes the final offer. The Director shall be a well-established, internationally known scientist with distinguished research achievements in the life sciences. The Director shall serve 5 years and may be re-appointed. In April 2003, the BOT accepted the recommendation of the SAB and appointed Dr. Xiaodong Wang, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a biochemist and cell biologist from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Dr. Xingwang Deng, a plant biologist from Yale University, as Co-Directors of NIBS. Sources: Nature Publishing & National Institute of Biological Sciences Beijing

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