Understanding the ability for Learning Improvement if Ube3a is Restored in a Later Life Stage
Dr. Geeske Van Woerden and her lab will research the best time to correct certain symptoms of AS when Ube3a is restored in a mouse model. Overall, the research team attempts to answer the question: can certain behaviors or symptoms of AS be reversed by activating Ube3a, at any life stage? Additionally, Dr. Van Woerden’s team will seek novel new tools for learning/intellectual abilities for drug testing.
To accomplish this, the research team will use an AS mouse model and evaluate the ability of mice to learn specific tasks. The mice are genetically modified to be born with AS, and they experience the symptoms of AS throughout their entire life. The research team will use a list of specific tasks to see if the AS mice have difficulty learning a particular task. If a particular task stands out among others as more difficult to learn, the research team will then use another mouse model and activate the Ube3a gene. The team will then re-evaluate the mice’s ability to learn that specific difficult task once Ube3a is activated. This will help the team understand the chances for cognitive or learning improvement if Ube3a is restored in a certain life stage. This research will help answer the question about the importance of the Ube3a gene at different life stages and with different learning abilities or behaviors. Additionally, this will result in a novel cognitive behavioral task that will allow us to study the effect of new drugs on learning/intellectual abilities in AS mice.
This research is significant because it will:
- Help understand the chances for cognitive or learning improvement if Ube3a is restored at a certain life stage.
- Result in a novel tool for learning/intellectual abilities to be able to test new drugs in AS mice.
These two items will help AS researchers understand the optimal window to restore Ube3a in an AS mouse model to best improve cognition and learning abilities.