Yan Chen PhD

Research interests:

My current work focuses on one Drosophila gustatory receptor subfamily, Gr28a and Gr28b.a-e. The Gr28 clusters are the most conserved Gr in different Drosophila species. These genes express not only in chemosensory neurons, but also in many none chemosensory neurons, including the mechanism neurons, the larval multi- dendritic neurons, and the brain. The complicated expression pattern of Gr28 let us believe that Gr28 probably not only function as taste receptor. However,  the exactly function of Gr28 is unknown. I am screening potential ligands of Gr28 receptors by functional calcium image in vivo. We suppose that ligands of Gr28 are the key to understanding the biological role of Gr28 .

Another project of mine is to dissect the in vivo interaction between different gustatory receptors by the YFP split technique. Simply, the YFP gene is split into two fragments (YFP1 and YFP2), and each of these fragments is fused to a gene of interest. In our case, these genes are Gr genes; YFP fluorescence is only restored, when the two fragments are in close physical proximity to one another. For example, if two Gr genes interact with one another, YFP1 and YFP2 are in close proximity and therefore, fluorescence is restored.


2003-2009 Ph.D., developmental biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
1997- 2002 B.S., Biology, College of Life Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China


1. Miyamoto, T*., Chen, Y.*, Slone J. and Amrein, H. (2013) Identification of a Drosophila Glucose Receptor Using Ca2+ Imaging of Single Chemosensory Neurons. PLoS ONE 8 (2), e56304. * equal contribution
2.  Liu, Z.,  Chen, Y. ,  Wang, D., Wang, S.,  Zhang, Y.Y (2010). Distinct pre- and postsynaptic dismantling processes of Drosophila neuromuscular junctions during metamorphosis. Journal of Neuroscience, 30: 11624-11634.

The Asia-Pacific Developmental Biology Network (APDBN) Travel Award for participation in
the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) Symposium “Shape and polarity”, in
Kobe, Japan, March 23-25, 2009