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Derek S. Sieburth, PhD
Associate Professor of Cell & Neurobiology
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
ZNI 219 1501 San Pablo Street Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 442 2013


The Sieburth lab studies synaptic signaling pathways that regulate synaptic function, with the goal of understanding how these pathways contribute to the function of neuronal circuits controlling behavioral programs in the nervous system. My laboratory uses C. elegans as a model organism for studying synaptic biology, because of its simple neuronal circuitry, the ability to visualize synapses by fluorescent imaging in live animals, and its powerful genetics. We combine state of-the-art behavioral, genetic, cell biological, and in vivo neuronal imaging techniques in to study the cellular molecular mechanisms underlying secretion of synaptic vesicles and dense core vesicles. My lab is interested in three major areas: 1) How does localized sphingolipid signaling at presynaptic terminals regulate synaptic transmission at neuromuscular junctions, 2) The mechanisms by which oxidative stress regulates synaptic transmission and behavior, and 3) How does a neuropeptide signaling pathway deliver timing information from a pacemaker to activate a rhythmic behavioral circuit.


Shen H, Giordano F, Wu Y, Chan J, Zhu C, Milosevic I, Wu X, Yao K, Chen B, Baumgart T, Sieburth D, De Camilli P. Coupling between endocytosis and sphingosine kinase 1 recruitment. Nat Cell Biol. 2014 Jul; 16(7):652-62. View in: PubMed

Staab TA, Egrafov O, Knowles JA, Sieburth D. Regulation of Synaptic nlg-1/Neuroligin Abundance by the skn-1/Nrf Stress Response Pathway Protects against Oxidative Stress. PLoS Genet. 2014 Jan; 10(1):e1004100. View in: PubMed

Chan JP, Staab TA, Wang H, Mazzasette C, Butte Z, Sieburth D. Extrasynaptic muscarinic acetylcholine receptors on neuronal cell bodies regulate presynaptic function in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Neurosci. 2013 Aug 28; 33(35):14146-59. View in: PubMed

Wang H, Girskis K, Janssen T, Chan JP, Dasgupta K, Knowles JA, Schoofs L, Sieburth D. Neuropeptide secreted from a pacemaker activates neurons to control a rhythmic behavior. Curr Biol. 2013 May 6; 23(9):746-54. View in: PubMed

Staab TA, Griffen TC, Corcoran C, Evgrafov O, Knowles JA, Sieburth D. The conserved SKN-1/Nrf2 stress response pathway regulates synaptic function in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genet. 2013 Mar; 9(3):e1003354. View in: PubMed

Pickering AM, Staab TA, Tower J, Sieburth D, Davies KJ. A conserved role for the 20S proteasome and Nrf2 transcription factor in oxidative stress adaptation in mammals, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. J Exp Biol. 2013 Feb 15; 216(Pt 4):543-53. View in: PubMed

Wang H, Sieburth D. PKA controls calcium influx into motor neurons during a rhythmic behavior. PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(9):e1003831. View in: PubMed

Chan JP, Sieburth D. Localized sphingolipid signaling at presynaptic terminals is regulated by calcium influx and promotes recruitment of priming factors. J Neurosci. 2012 Dec 5; 32(49):17909-20. View in: PubMed

Chan JP, Hu Z, Sieburth D. Recruitment of sphingosine kinase to presynaptic terminals by a conserved muscarinic signaling pathway promotes neurotransmitter release. Genes Dev. 2012 May 15; 26(10):1070-85. View in: PubMed

Hao Y, Hu Z, Sieburth D, Kaplan JM. RIC-7 Promotes Neuropeptide Secretion. PLoS Genet. 2012 Jan; 8(1):e1002464. View in: PubMed

Bedrood S, Jayasinghe S, Sieburth D, Chen M, Erbel S, Butler PC, Langen R, Ritzel RA. Annexin A5 directly interacts with amyloidogenic proteins and reduces their toxicity. Biochemistry. 2009 Nov 10; 48(44):10568-76. View in: PubMed

Ch'ng Q, Sieburth D, Kaplan JM. Profiling synaptic proteins identifies regulators of insulin secretion and lifespan. PLoS Genet. 2008 Nov; 4(11):e1000283. View in: PubMed

Vashlishan AB, Madison JM, Dybbs M, Bai J, Sieburth D, Ch'ng Q, Tavazoie M, Kaplan JM. An RNAi screen identifies genes that regulate GABA synapses. Neuron. 2008 May 8; 58(3):346-61. View in: PubMed

Sieburth D, Madison JM, Kaplan JM. PKC-1 regulates secretion of neuropeptides. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Jan; 10(1):49-57. View in: PubMed

Sieburth D, Ch'ng Q, Dybbs M, Tavazoie M, Kennedy S, Wang D, Dupuy D, Rual JF, Hill DE, Vidal M, Ruvkun G, Kaplan JM. Systematic analysis of genes required for synapse structure and function. Nature. 2005 Jul 28; 436(7050):510-7. View in: PubMed

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