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Somnath Mukhopadhyay
Associate Professor

Tel: 919 530-7762
Fax: 919 530-7760

  • CV
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My research focuses on endocannabinoid anandamide (arachidonyl ethanolamide; a bioactive lipid) and its G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs)-mediated molecular cell signaling in relation to angiogenesis and neurogenesis under normal physiological as well as pathological conditions. Endogenous cannabinoid anandamide produces its physiological responses acting on CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Recent studies from my laboratory and others have indicated the existence of a novel non- CB1/CB2 "anandamide receptor" in different endothelial and tumor cells. We have shown that the activation of this putative "anandamide receptor" leads to Gi protein activation, nitric oxide (NO) production, cell migration and angiogenesis while activation of CB1 receptor inhibits angiogenesis. We are currently engaged in the cloning of the novel Gi-protein coupled"non-CB1/CB2 anandamide receptor and characterization of its signaling complex using a proprietary single-chain phage antibody library.  Further, we have undertaken several projects in the laboratory to identify and characterize the molecular signaling mechanism of "anandamide receptor", CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor -mediated regulation of angiogenesis in relation to the matrix metalloprotease activity. In a related project using an orthotopic animal model of prostate cancer we are investigating the role of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor in the regulation of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells growth, metastasis and tumor angiogenesis. In parallel to working on mammalian system, recently we have initiated projects to study the role of CB1 receptor in the regulation of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis in transgenic Zebra fish model.

In the neurogenesis wing of our laboratory we are studying the role of endocannabinoid and its receptors in neuroprotection and neurogenesis using animal models of ischemia (MCAO model of ischemic stroke and hind-limb ischemia in rodents). We are studying the role CB1 cannabinoid receptor-mediated nitric oxide production in the regulation of matrix metalloprotease 9 activity in relation to ischemia-induced neuronal damage and subsequent angiogenesis and neurogenesis. In a related project we are investigating the role of endocannabinoid anandamide and CB1 receptor in rat brain hippocampal neurogenesis under normoxic and ischemic condition.

Click on Thumbnails individually to see full Figure
Figure 1  Figure 2

McCollum L., Howlett AC and Mukhopadhyay S. (2007) Anandamide-mediated CB1/CB2 receptor-independent NO production in rabbit aortic endothelial cells. J Pharmacol Exp Ther.  321: 930-937. 

Anavi-Goffer S, Fleischer D, Hurst DP, Lynch DL, Barnett-Norris J, Shi S, Lewis DL, Mukhopadhyay S, Howlett AC, Reggio PH, Abood ME Helix 8 Leu in the CB1 cannabinoid receptor contributes to selective signal transduction mechanisms. J Biol Chem.282: 25100-13,2007

Chi, SL., Wahl, ML., Mowery, YV., Shan, S., Mukhopadhyay, S., Hildebrandt, S., Kenan, DJ., Lipes, BD., Johnson, CE., Marusich, M.,Capaldi,RA., Dewhirst, MW  and Pizzo SV Angiostatin-like activity of a monoclonal antibody to the catalytic subunit of F1Fo ATP synthase  Cancer Research 67: 4716-24, 2007

Mukhopadhyay, S. and Tulis, D.A. Endocannabinoid Regulation of Matrix metalloproteinases: Implications in Ischemic StrokeCardiovasc. Hematol. Agents Med. Chem.  (in press).

Howlett, AC., Mukhopadhyay, S and Derek Norford (2007) Endocannabinoids and Reactive Nitrogen and Oxygen Species in Neuropathologies J. Neuroimmune Pharmacology (in press).

Jackson EB, Mukhopadhyay S, Tulis DA Pharmacologic modulators of soluble guanylate cyclase/cyclic guanosine monophosphate in the vascular system - from bench top to bedsideCurr. Vasc. Pharmacol. 5: 1-14, 2007

Niehaus JL, Liu Y, Wallis KT, Egertova M, Bhartur SG, Mukhopadhyay S, Shi S,He H, Selley DE, Howlett AC, Elphick MR, Lewis DL . CB1 cannabinoid receptor activity is modulated by the interacting protein CRIP1aMol Pharmacol 72:1557-66,2007

Mukhopadhyay S., Das, S., Williams EA., Moore, D., Jones JD.,  Zahm, DS., Ndengele, MM., Lechner, AJ and Howlett, AC.Lipopolysaccharide and cyclic AMP regulation of CB(2) cannabinoid receptor levels in rat brain and mouse RAW 264.7 macrophages. J. Neuroimmunol. 181:82-92, 2006

Mukhopadhyay, S and Howlett, AC Chemically Distinct Ligands Promote Differential CB1 Cannabinoid Receptor-Gi Protein Interactions Mol Pharmacol 67: 2016-24, 2005

Mukhopadhyay, S., Shim, JY., Assi, AA., Norford, D andHowlett, AC. CB1 cannabinoid receptor-G protein association: A possible mechanism for differential signaling. Chem Phys. Lipids.121: 91-109, 2002

Mukhopadhyay, S, Chapnick, B and Howlett AC Ananadamide-induced vasorelaxation in rabbit aortic rings has two components: G protein-dependent and G protein-independent American J Physiol (Heart and Circulatory) 282: H2046-H2054, 2002

Mukhopadhyay, S. and Howlett, A.C. CB1 receptor-G protein association. Subtype selectivity is determined by distinct intracellular domainsEur. J. Biochem., 268:499-505, 2001.

Mukhopadhyay, S. McIntosh, H., Houston DB and. Howlett, AC. Cannabinoid receptor-derived juxtamembrane C-terminal peptide uncouples receptor-G protein interaction. Mol Pharmacol 57: 162-170, 2000

Mukhopadhyay, S. . Cowsik, S., Welsh, WJ and Howlett, AC. Regulation of Gi by the CB1 cannabinoid receptor C-terminal juxtamembrane region: Structural requirement determined by peptide analysis. Biochemistry 38: 3447-3455, 1999


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For nearly 100 years, NCCU has had a rich history of creating programs which foster academic development and achievement and the JLC-BBRI is one of our most innovative research initiatives to date. Since 1998, it has strengthened undergraduate science education and focused its research on health issues that disproportionately affect African Americans. As the JLC-BBRI continues to address the health research and training needs of underserved minority groups, it is our hope that the information and research it generates will support the improvement of the health of the minority community, while at the same time providing students with viable skills in biotechnology and broader access to careers in the biomedical sciences.

The mission of BBRI is to conduct research focused on health issues that disproportionately affect African Americans and other minority groups and to provide students with research training and experiences that will enhance access to careers in the biomedical sciences.

BBRI Nutrition Research Program of the North Carolina Central University has a collaborative research grant with Appalachian State University to study Chia seed using the zebrafish model at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. In addition, a funded collaborative research agreement was established with UNC Chapel Hill
to study the dietary choline using the zebrafish model.

BBRI Nutrition Research Program of the North Carolina Central University recruited a new cancer research faculty at the North Carolina Research Campus to start a program on dietary and hormonal modulation of breast cancer risks.
The research is funded by a grant from American Cancer Society to study phytoestrogens
and erbB-2 mediated breast carcinogenesis.

BBRI Nutrition Research Program of the North Carolina Central University and NC A&T State University filed the first joint patent originated from the zebrafish research at the North Carolina Research Campus for an innovative treatment to target anemia market.

BBRI Nutrition Research Program of the North Carolina Central University was awarded a Technology Research Grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to develop a zebrafish model for high-throughput drug discovery at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

BBRI Nutrition Research Program of the North Carolina Central University became one of the six university-partners moving into the private-public venture of the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, a world class research hub where collaborative science will lead the charge for great discoveries in nutrition,
health and biotechnology research.

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