zachariou lab
Laboratory of Cellular Neuropharmacology

Our research focuses on the cellular mechanisms underlying CNS disorders and their treatment. We use advanced genetic mouse models, viral mediated gene transfer and optogenetics to understand the network and cell type specific mechanisms underlying chronic pain, addiction, and depression.   A large part of our work, concerns the study of RGS proteins (Regulators of G protein signaling) in the brain.  RGS proteins modulate a number of important functions in the CNS by regulating the activity of heterotrimeric G protein alpha subunits but also by various other interactions which affect receptor desentitization, ion channel function or transcriptional activity.  Our earlier work revealed a potent role of RGS9-2 in the striatum in drug addiction and identified RGS9-2 complexes associated with agonist biased signaling. More recently, we explored the role of RGS4 in antidepressant drug actions and its role in various forms of chronic pain.

We focus on five major research areas:

Signal transduction complexes in the striatum in drug addiction

Regulation of G protein signaling in stress and depression

Novel intracellular targets for chronic pain treatment

Epigenetic adaptations in chronic pain models

Regulators of G protein signaling and obesity


Venetia Zachariou, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Friedman Brain Institute
Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Systems Therapeutics
j of Structural Biology

Mitsi V, Terzi D, Purushothaman I, Manouras L, Gaspari S, Neve RL, Stratinaki M, Feng J, Shen L, Zachariou V. RGS9-2--controlled adaptations in the striatum determine the onset of action and efficacy of antidepressants in neuropathic pain states. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 8;112(36):E5088-97.

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