Dr. Howlett investigates cannabinoid and endocannabinoid compounds that stimulate the CB1 cannabinoid receptor and regulate signal transduction pathways in cultured neuronal cells. We study phosphorylation of the receptor as a means to direct signaling through specific G proteins, as well as the potential for drugs to direct the partnering with different G proteins leading to selection of certain signal transduction pathways (e.g., via adenylyl cyclase inhibition, MAPK activation, Ca2+ regulation, and NO production). The goal is identify drugs that target neurons in the brain that promote therapeutically beneficial actions (e.g., analgesia), but diminish the activity of neurons that produce untoward side effects (e.g., sedation, cognitive dysfunction).
Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1083