Zach Ma

Associate Professor
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology


The current research in our lab is centered in two areas:

(1) Membrane trafficking/cell migration and histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferases. Covalent modifications of histones regulate the structure and function of chromatin. Among them, methylation of H3K4 is associated with actively transcribed genes and thus extensively studied. Unexpectedly, we have discovered that a pool of mDpy-30, a common subunit of many H3K4 methyltransferases, resides at the Golgi apparatus and it plays a role in membrane trafficking and cell migration. We are investigating the mechanism by which mDpy-30 regulates these events.

(2) AGS3 and addiction. A major difficulty in the treatment of drug addiction is the prevention of relapse. Whereas AGS3 protein, a G-protein regulator, is implicated in the modulation of recurring cocaine- and alcohol-seeking behavior in animal models of addiction, the cellular event(s) controlled by AGS3 remain incompletely characterized. Our lab has shown a link between AGS3 and Golgi structure/function and we are dissecting the pathway involved. Our long term goal is to elucidate how AGS3 regulates addictive behavior.