Neuroscience at The University of Chicago

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PhD, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas




O-300, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care

The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60637

773 795 2177

Ming Xu, PhD


Research Interests
  • Cellular & Molecular
Our long-term research interest is to understand the molecular basis of neuronal function under normal and certain diseased conditions.  The major neurobiological problem that we have been working on is the molecular basis of dopaminergic function and drug addiction.  We make genetically engineered mouse models and use behavioral, histological and molecular biological methods in our investigations.

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Zhang, J., Zhang, D., McQuade, J.M.S., Behbehani, M., Tsien, J. and Xu, M. (2002) c-fos is a genetic regulator in cellular mechanisms mediating neuronal excitability and survival. Nature Genetics 30: 416-420. Zhang, D., Zhang, L., Lou, D., Nakabeppu, Y., Zhang, J. and Xu, M. (2002) The dopamine D1 receptor is a critical mediator for cocaine-induced gene expression. J. Neurochem. 82: 1453-1464. Zhang, L., Lou, D., Jiao, H., Zhang, D., Wang, X., Ying, X., Zhang, J. and Xu, M. (2004). Cocaine-induced intracellular signaling and gene expression are oppositely regulated by the dopamine D1 and D3 receptors. J. Neurosci. 24: 3344-3354. Zhang, D., Zhang, L., Tang, Y., Zhang, Q., Lou, D., Sharp, F.R., Zhang, J. and Xu, M. (2005) Repeated cocaine administration induces gene expression changes through the dopamine D1 receptors. Neuropsychopharmacol. 30: 1443-1454. Zhang, J., Zhang, L., Jiao, H., Zhang, Q., Zhang, D., Lou, D., Katz, J., and Xu, M. (2006) c-fos facilitates acquisition and extinction of cocaine-induced persistent change. J. Neurosci. 26: 13287-13296. Jiao, H., Zhang, L., Gao, F., Lou, D., Zhang, J. and Xu, M. (2007) Dopamine D1 and D3 receptors oppositely regulate NMDA- and cocaine-induced MAPK signaling via NMDA receptor phosphorylation. J. Neurochem. 103: 840-848. Caine, S.B., Thomsen, M., Gabriel, K.I., Berkowitz, J.S., Gold, L.H., Koob, G.F., Tonegawa, S., Zhang, J. and Xu, M. (2007) Decreased cocaine self-administration in dopamine D-1 receptor knockout mice. J. Neurosci. 27: 13140-13150. Hu, X.T., Nasif, F.J., Zhang, J. and Xu, M. (2008) Fos regulates neuronal activity in the nucleus accumbens. Neurosci. Letters 448: 157–160. Liu, X., Mao, L., Zhang, G., Papasian, C.J., Fibuch, E.E., Lan, H., Zhou, H., Xu, M.* and Wang, J.Q.* (2009) Activity-dependent modulation of limbic dopamine D3 receptors by CaMKII. Neuron 61: 425-438.  Zhou, F-W., Jin, Y., Matta, S., Xu, M. and Zhou, F-M. (2009). An ultra-short dopamine pathway regulates basal ganglia output. J. Neurosci. 29: 10424-10435. Ren, Z., Sun, W., Jiao, H., Zhang, D., Kong, H., Wang, X. and Xu, M. (2010). Dopamine D1 and NMDA receptors and ERK mediate neuronal morphological changes induced by repeated cocaine administration. Neurosci. 168: 48-60. Chen, L.P. and Xu, M. (2010). Dopamine D1 and D3 receptors are differentially involved in cue-elicited cocaine seeking. J. Neurochem. 114: 530-541. Xing, B., Kong, H., Meng, X., Wei, S., Xu, M. and Li, S. (2010). Dopamine D1 but not D3 receptor is critical for spatial memory and related signaling in the hippocampus. Neurosci. 169: 1511-1519. Kong, H., Kuang, W., Li, S. and Xu, M. (2011). Activation of dopamine D3 receptors inhibits reward-related learning induced by cocaine. Neurosci. 176: 152–161. Zhu, J., Chen, Y., Cao, G., Zhao, N., Xu, M. and Chen, T. (2012). Dopamine D3 receptors regulate methamphetamine-induced behavioral sensitization but not ultra-structural plasticity in the shell of nucleus accumbens. J. Neurosci. Res. 90: 895-904. Cao, G., Zhu, J., Zhong, Q., Shi, C., Dang, Y., Han, W., Liu, X., Xu, M. and Chen, T. (2013). Distinct roles of methamphetamine in modulating spatial memory consolidation, retrieval, reconsolidation and the accompanying changes of ERK and CREB activation in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Neuropharm. 67: 144-154. Yan, Y., Kong, H., Wu, E.J., Newman, A. H. and Xu, M. (2013) Dopamine D3 receptors regulate reconsolidation of cocaine memory. Neurosci. 241: 32-40.