Professional Education

  • PhD, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG&MUG & Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Biochemistry (2011)
  • MSc, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk, Biotechnology (2003)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Generation of pure GABAergic neurons by transcription factor programming. Nature methods Yang, N., Chanda, S., Marro, S., Ng, Y., Janas, J. A., Haag, D., Ang, C. E., Tang, Y., Flores, Q., Mall, M., Wapinski, O., Li, M., Ahlenius, H., Rubenstein, J. L., Chang, H. Y., Buylla, A. A., Südhof, T. C., Wernig, M. 2017; 14 (6): 621-628


    Approaches to differentiating pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) into neurons currently face two major challenges-(i) generated cells are immature, with limited functional properties; and (ii) cultures exhibit heterogeneous neuronal subtypes and maturation stages. Using lineage-determining transcription factors, we previously developed a single-step method to generate glutamatergic neurons from human PSCs. Here, we show that transient expression of the transcription factors Ascl1 and Dlx2 (AD) induces the generation of exclusively GABAergic neurons from human PSCs with a high degree of synaptic maturation. These AD-induced neuronal (iN) cells represent largely nonoverlapping populations of GABAergic neurons that express various subtype-specific markers. We further used AD-iN cells to establish that human collybistin, the loss of gene function of which causes severe encephalopathy, is required for inhibitory synaptic function. The generation of defined populations of functionally mature human GABAergic neurons represents an important step toward enabling the study of diseases affecting inhibitory synaptic transmission.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nmeth.4291

    View details for PubMedID 28504679

  • Regulation of Chandelier Cell Cartridge and Bouton Development via DOCK7-Mediated ErbB4 Activation. Cell reports Tai, Y., Janas, J. A., Wang, C., Van Aelst, L. 2014; 6 (2): 254-263


    Chandelier cells (ChCs), typified by their unique axonal morphology, are the most distinct interneurons present in cortical circuits. Via their distinctive axonal terminals, called cartridges, these cells selectively target the axon initial segment of pyramidal cells and control action potential initiation; however, the mechanisms that govern the characteristic ChC axonal structure have remained elusive. Here, by employing an in utero electroporation-based method that enables genetic labeling and manipulation of ChCs in vivo, we identify DOCK7, a member of the DOCK180 family, as a molecule essential for ChC cartridge and bouton development. Furthermore, we present evidence that DOCK7 functions as a cytoplasmic activator of the schizophrenia-associated ErbB4 receptor tyrosine kinase and that DOCK7 modulates ErbB4 activity to control ChC cartridge and bouton development. Thus, our findings define DOCK7 and ErbB4 as key components of a pathway that controls the morphological differentiation of ChCs, with implications for the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.12.034

    View details for PubMedID 24440718

  • DOK2 Inhibits EGFR-Mutated Lung Adenocarcinoma. PloS one Berger, A. H., Chen, M., Morotti, A., Janas, J. A., Niki, M., Bronson, R. T., Taylor, B. S., Ladanyi, M., Van Aelst, L., Politi, K., Varmus, H. E., Pandolfi, P. P. 2013; 8 (11)


    Somatic mutations in the EGFR proto-oncogene occur in ~15% of human lung adenocarcinomas and the importance of EGFR mutations for the initiation and maintenance of lung cancer is well established from mouse models and cancer therapy trials in human lung cancer patients. Recently, we identified DOK2 as a lung adenocarcinoma tumor suppressor gene. Here we show that genomic loss of DOK2 is associated with EGFR mutations in human lung adenocarcinoma, and we hypothesized that loss of DOK2 might therefore cooperate with EGFR mutations to promote lung tumorigenesis. We tested this hypothesis using genetically engineered mouse models and find that loss of Dok2 in the mouse accelerates lung tumorigenesis initiated by oncogenic EGFR, but not that initiated by mutated Kras. Moreover, we find that DOK2 participates in a negative feedback loop that opposes mutated EGFR; EGFR mutation leads to recruitment of DOK2 to EGFR and DOK2-mediated inhibition of downstream activation of RAS. These data identify DOK2 as a tumor suppressor in EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0079526

    View details for PubMedID 24255704

  • Oncogenic Tyrosine Kinases Target Dok-1 for Ubiquitin-Mediated Proteasomal Degradation To Promote Cell Transformation MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY Janas, J. A., Van Aelst, L. 2011; 31 (13): 2552-2565


    Cellular transformation induced by oncogenic tyrosine kinases is a multistep process involving activation of growth-promoting signaling pathways and inactivation of suppressor molecules. Dok-1 is an adaptor protein that acts as a negative regulator of tyrosine kinase-initiated signaling and opposes oncogenic tyrosine kinase-mediated cell transformation. Findings that its loss facilitates transformation induced by oncogenic tyrosine kinases suggest that Dok-1 inactivation could constitute an intermediate step in oncogenesis driven by these oncoproteins. However, whether Dok-1 is subject to regulation by oncogenic tyrosine kinases remained unknown. In this study, we show that oncogenic tyrosine kinases, including p210(bcr-abl) and oncogenic forms of Src, downregulate Dok-1 by targeting it for degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. This process is dependent on the tyrosine kinase activity of the oncoproteins and is mediated primarily by lysine-dependent polyubiquitination of Dok-1. Importantly, restoration of Dok-1 levels strongly suppresses transformation of cells expressing oncogenic tyrosine kinases, and this suppression is more pronounced in the context of a Dok-1 mutant that is largely refractory to oncogenic tyrosine kinase-induced degradation. Our findings suggest that proteasome-mediated downregulation of Dok-1 is a key mechanism by which oncogenic tyrosine kinases overcome the inhibitory effect of Dok-1 on cellular transformation and tumor progression.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/MCB.05045-11

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291431400002

    View details for PubMedID 21536658

  • The Rac activator DOCK7 regulates neuronal polarity through local phosphorylation of stathmin/Op18 NEURON Watabe-Uchida, M., John, K. A., Janas, J. A., Newey, S. E., Van Aelst, L. 2006; 51 (6): 727-739


    The polarization of a neuron generally results in the formation of one axon and multiple dendrites, allowing for the establishment of neuronal circuitry. The molecular mechanisms involved in priming one neurite to become the axon, particularly those regulating the microtubule network, remain elusive. Here we report the identification of DOCK7, a member of the DOCK180-related protein superfamily, as a Rac GTPase activator that is asymmetrically distributed in unpolarized hippocampal neurons and selectively expressed in the axon. Knockdown of DOCK7 expression prevents axon formation, whereas overexpression induces formation of multiple axons. We further demonstrate that DOCK7 and Rac activation lead to phosphorylation and inactivation of the microtubule destabilizing protein stathmin/Op18 in the nascent axon and that this event is important for axon development. Our findings unveil a pathway linking the Rac activator DOCK7 to a microtubule regulatory protein and highlight the contribution of microtubule network regulation to axon development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.07.020

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240997900012

    View details for PubMedID 16982419

  • Dok-1 independently attenuates Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase and Src/c-Myc pathways to inhibit platelet-derived growth factor-induced mitogenesis MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY Zhao, M. M., Janas, J. A., Niki, M., Pandolfi, P. P., Van Aelst, L. 2006; 26 (7): 2479-2489


    The Dok adaptor proteins play key regulatory roles in receptor and non-receptor kinase-initiated signaling pathways. Dok-1, the prototype member of this family, negatively regulates cell proliferation elicited by numerous growth factors, including platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). However, how Dok-1 exerts its negative effect on mitogenesis has remained elusive. Using Dok-1 knockout cells and Dok-1 mutants deficient in binding to specific Dok-1-interacting proteins, we show that Dok-1 interferes with PDGF-stimulated c-myc induction and Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation by tethering different signaling components to the cell membrane. Specifically, Dok-1 attenuates PDGF-elicited c-myc induction by recruiting Csk to active Src kinases, whereupon their activities and consequent c-myc induction are diminished. On the other hand, Dok-1 negatively regulates PDGF-induced MAPK activation by acting on Ras-GAP and at least one other Dok-1-interacting protein. Importantly, we demonstrate that Dok-1's actions on both of these signaling pathways contribute to its inhibitory effect on mitogenesis. Our data suggest a mechanistic basis for the inhibitory effect of Dok-1 on growth factor-induced mitogenesis and its role as a tumor suppressor.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/MCB.26.7.2479-2489.2006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000236312200002

    View details for PubMedID 16537894

  • Lentiviral delivery of RNAi in hippocampal neurons METHODS IN ENZYMOLOGY, VOL 406, REGULATORS AND EFFECTORS OF SMALL GTPASES: RHO FAMILY Janas, J., Skowronski, J., Van Aelst, L. 2006; 406: 593-605


    The breakthrough discovery that double-stranded RNA of 21 nucleotides in length (referred to as short or small interfering RNA; siRNA) can trigger sequence-specific gene silencing in mammalian cells has led to the development of a powerful new approach to study gene function (Dillon et al., 2005; Dykxhoorn et al., 2003; Elbashir et al., 2001; Hannon et al., 2004). Effective delivery of siRNA molecules into target cells or tissues is critical for successful RNA interference (RNAi) application. Here, we describe the use of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-based lentiviral vectors for delivery of short hairpin RNA (shRNA), a precursor of siRNA, into primary neurons to suppress gene expression. Major advantages of lentiviral vectors are their ability to transduce nondividing cells and to confer long-term expression of transgenes. This chapter covers selection of short hairpin sequences, vector design, production of lentiviral supernatants, transduction of dissociated primary hippocampal neurons, and testing the effectiveness of shRNA-mediated silencing.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/S0076-6879(06)06046-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000235750600046

    View details for PubMedID 16472690

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