Food intake is regulated by several neurotransmitters, including dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin, as well as by peptides and amino acids. Dopamine is of special interest because it seems to regulate food intake by modulating the “reward” circuitry of the brain.
The involvement of dopamine in pathological eating and obesity is not yet well understood, but it is an area of intense interest in our laboratory. Using mouse and rat models, our laboratory investigates how food intake regulates neurotransmitter transporter function. Neurotransmitter transporters are integral membrane proteins responsible for clearing neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine) from the synaptic cleft, to control the magnitude and duration of synaptic signaling. They include the dopamine (DAT) and norepinephrine (NET) transporters. Substances of abuse such as cocaine and amphetamine, or drugs with clinical relevance such as Ritalin (used for treatment of ADHD), act upon these transporters to alter the concentration of dopamine in the synaptic cleft. The focus of our laboratory is to try to understand the mechanisms of action of these drugs with the intent to improve the pharmacological treatment of specific neurological disorders and substance abuse—and now perhaps also obesity and type 2 diabetes.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. SLC6A3 coding variant Ala559Val found in two autism probands alters dopamine transporter function and trafficking. Bowton E, Saunders C, Reddy IA, Campbell NG, Hamilton PJ, Henry LK, Coon H, Sakrikar D, Veenstra-VanderWeele JM, Blakely RD, Sutcliffe J, Matthies HJ, Erreger K, Galli A (2014) Transl Psychiatry : e464
    › Primary publication · 25313507 (PubMed) · PMC4350523 (PubMed Central)
  2. Striatal dopamine homeostasis is altered in mice following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Reddy IA, Wasserman DH, Ayala JE, Hasty AH, Abumrad NN, Galli A (2014) ACS Chem Neurosci 5(10): 943-51
    › Primary publication · 25068716 (PubMed) · PMC4324416 (PubMed Central)
  3. Missense dopamine transporter mutations associate with adult parkinsonism and ADHD. Hansen FH, Skjørringe T, Yasmeen S, Arends NV, Sahai MA, Erreger K, Andreassen TF, Holy M, Hamilton PJ, Neergheen V, Karlsborg M, Newman AH, Pope S, Heales SJ, Friberg L, Law I, Pinborg LH, Sitte HH, Loland C, Shi L, Weinstein H, Galli A, Hjermind LE, Møller LB, Gether U (2014) J Clin Invest 124(7): 3107-20
    › Primary publication · 24911152 (PubMed) · PMC4071392 (PubMed Central)
  4. PIP2 regulates psychostimulant behaviors through its interaction with a membrane protein. Hamilton PJ, Belovich AN, Khelashvili G, Saunders C, Erreger K, Javitch JA, Sitte HH, Weinstein H, Matthies HJG, Galli A (2014) Nat Chem Biol 10(7): 582-589
    › Primary publication · 24880859 (PubMed) · PMC4062427 (PubMed Central)
  5. Drosophila melanogaster: a novel animal model for the behavioral characterization of autism-associated mutations in the dopamine transporter gene. Hamilton PJ, Campbell NG, Sharma S, Erreger K, Hansen FH, Saunders C, Belovich AN, Sahai MA, Cook EH, Gether U, McHaourab HS, Matthies HJ, Sutcliffe JS, Galli A (2013) Mol Psychiatry 18(12): 1235
    › Primary publication · 24253181 (PubMed)
  6. Moving beyond energy homeostasis: new roles for glucagon-like peptide-1 in food and drug reward. Reddy IA, Stanwood GD, Galli A (2014) Neurochem Int : 49-55
    › Primary publication · 24140429 (PubMed) · PMC4120871 (PubMed Central)
  7. Neuronal ablation of p-Akt at Ser473 leads to altered 5-HT1A/2A receptor function. Saunders C, Siuta M, Robertson SD, Davis AR, Sauer J, Matthies HJG, Gresch PJ, Airey D, Lindsley CW, Schetz JA, Niswender KD, Veenstra-Vanderweele JM, Galli A (2014) Neurochem Int : 113-121
    › Primary publication · 24090638 (PubMed) · PMC4073299 (PubMed Central)
  8. De novo mutation in the dopamine transporter gene associates dopamine dysfunction with autism spectrum disorder. Hamilton PJ, Campbell NG, Sharma S, Erreger K, Herborg Hansen F, Saunders C, Belovich AN, NIH ARRA Autism Sequencing Consortium, Sahai MA, Cook EH, Gether U, McHaourab HS, Matthies HJ, Sutcliffe JS, Galli A (2013) Mol Psychiatry 18(12): 1315-23
    › Primary publication · 23979605 (PubMed) · PMC4046646 (PubMed Central)
  9. Amphetamine actions at the serotonin transporter rely on the availability of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate. Buchmayer F, Schicker K, Steinkellner T, Geier P, Stübiger G, Hamilton PJ, Jurik A, Stockner T, Yang JW, Montgomery T, Holy M, Hofmaier T, Kudlacek O, Matthies HJ, Ecker GF, Bochkov V, Galli A, Boehm S, Sitte HH (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(28): 11642-7
    › Primary publication · 23798435 (PubMed) · PMC3710838 (PubMed Central)
  10. GLP-1 analog attenuates cocaine reward. Graham DL, Erreger K, Galli A, Stanwood GD (2013) Mol Psychiatry 18(9): 961-2
    › Primary publication · 23089631 (PubMed) · PMC3700649 (PubMed Central)
  11. Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-biphosphate (PIP(2)) lipids regulate the phosphorylation of syntaxin N-terminus by modulating both its position and local structure. Khelashvili G, Galli A, Weinstein H (2012) Biochemistry 51(39): 7685-98
    › Primary publication · 22950482 (PubMed) · PMC3462474 (PubMed Central)
  12. Akt-dependent and isoform-specific regulation of dopamine transporter cell surface expression. Speed NK, Matthies HJ, Kennedy JP, Vaughan RA, Javitch JA, Russo SJ, Lindsley CW, Niswender K, Galli A (2010) ACS Chem Neurosci 1(7): 476-81
    › Primary publication · 22778840 (PubMed) · PMC3368666 (PubMed Central)
  13. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder-derived coding variation in the dopamine transporter disrupts microdomain targeting and trafficking regulation. Sakrikar D, Mazei-Robison MS, Mergy MA, Richtand NW, Han Q, Hamilton PJ, Bowton E, Galli A, Veenstra-Vanderweele J, Gill M, Blakely RD (2012) J Neurosci 32(16): 5385-97
    › Primary publication · 22514303 (PubMed) · PMC3342037 (PubMed Central)
  14. Exendin-4 decreases amphetamine-induced locomotor activity. Erreger K, Davis AR, Poe AM, Greig NH, Stanwood GD, Galli A (2012) Physiol Behav 106(4): 574-8
    › Primary publication · 22465309 (PubMed) · PMC3348974 (PubMed Central)
  15. Rescue of dopamine transporter function in hypoinsulinemic rats by a D2 receptor-ERK-dependent mechanism. Owens WA, Williams JM, Saunders C, Avison MJ, Galli A, Daws LC (2012) J Neurosci 32(8): 2637-47
    › Primary publication · 22357848 (PubMed) · PMC3310897 (PubMed Central)
  16. Role for mTOR signaling and neuronal activity in morphine-induced adaptations in ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. Mazei-Robison MS, Koo JW, Friedman AK, Lansink CS, Robison AJ, Vinish M, Krishnan V, Kim S, Siuta MA, Galli A, Niswender KD, Appasani R, Horvath MC, Neve RL, Worley PF, Snyder SH, Hurd YL, Cheer JF, Han MH, Russo SJ, Nestler EJ (2011) Neuron 72(6): 977-90
    › Primary publication · 22196333 (PubMed) · PMC3246191 (PubMed Central)
  17. Impaired striatal Akt signaling disrupts dopamine homeostasis and increases feeding. Speed N, Saunders C, Davis AR, Owens WA, Matthies HJ, Saadat S, Kennedy JP, Vaughan RA, Neve RL, Lindsley CW, Russo SJ, Daws LC, Niswender KD, Galli A (2011) PLoS One 6(9): e25169
    › Primary publication · 21969871 (PubMed) · PMC3182178 (PubMed Central)
  18. Insulin signaling and addiction. Daws LC, Avison MJ, Robertson SD, Niswender KD, Galli A, Saunders C (2011) Neuropharmacology 61(7): 1123-8
    › Primary publication · 21420985 (PubMed) · PMC3518862 (PubMed Central)
  19. Flotillin-1 is essential for PKC-triggered endocytosis and membrane microdomain localization of DAT. Cremona ML, Matthies HJ, Pau K, Bowton E, Speed N, Lute BJ, Anderson M, Sen N, Robertson SD, Vaughan RA, Rothman JE, Galli A, Javitch JA, Yamamoto A (2011) Nat Neurosci 14(4): 469-77
    › Primary publication · 21399631 (PubMed) · PMC3066276 (PubMed Central)
  20. Insulin regulation of monoamine signaling: pathway to obesity. Niswender KD, Daws LC, Avison MJ, Galli A (2011) Neuropsychopharmacology 36(1): 359-60
    › Primary publication · 21116253 (PubMed) · PMC3055525 (PubMed Central)
  21. Molecular mechanisms of amphetamine actions in Caenorhabditis elegans. Carvelli L, Matthies DS, Galli A (2010) Mol Pharmacol 78(1): 151-6
    › Primary publication · 20410438 (PubMed) · PMC2912056 (PubMed Central)
  22. A juxtamembrane mutation in the N terminus of the dopamine transporter induces preference for an inward-facing conformation. Guptaroy B, Zhang M, Bowton E, Binda F, Shi L, Weinstein H, Galli A, Javitch JA, Neubig RR, Gnegy ME (2009) Mol Pharmacol 75(3): 514-24
    › Primary publication · 19098122 (PubMed) · PMC2684905 (PubMed Central)
  23. Feeding conditions differentially affect the neurochemical and behavioral effects of dopaminergic drugs in male rats. Sevak RJ, Koek W, Owens WA, Galli A, Daws LC, France CP (2008) Eur J Pharmacol 592(1-3): 109-15
    › Primary publication · 18652823 (PubMed) · PMC2603169 (PubMed Central)
  24. Behavioral effects of amphetamine in streptozotocin-treated rats. Sevak RJ, Koek W, Daws LC, Owens WA, Galli A, France CP (2008) Eur J Pharmacol 581(1-2): 105-12
    › Primary publication · 18155695 (PubMed) · PMC2700747 (PubMed Central)
  25. Evidence for D2 receptor mediation of amphetamine-induced normalization of locomotion and dopamine transporter function in hypoinsulinemic rats. Sevak RJ, Owens WA, Koek W, Galli A, Daws LC, France CP (2007) J Neurochem 101(1): 151-9
    › Primary publication · 17217413 (PubMed)
  26. Insulin replacement restores the behavioral effects of quinpirole and raclopride in streptozotocin-treated rats. Sevak RJ, Koek W, Galli A, France CP (2007) J Pharmacol Exp Ther 320(3): 1216-23
    › Primary publication · 17170311 (PubMed)
  27. Intracellular Ca2+ regulates amphetamine-induced dopamine efflux and currents mediated by the human dopamine transporter. Gnegy ME, Khoshbouei H, Berg KA, Javitch JA, Clarke WP, Zhang M, Galli A (2004) Mol Pharmacol 66(1): 137-43
    › Primary publication · 15213305 (PubMed)
  28. Mitogen-activated protein kinase regulates dopamine transporter surface expression and dopamine transport capacity. Morón JA, Zakharova I, Ferrer JV, Merrill GA, Hope B, Lafer EM, Lin ZC, Wang JB, Javitch JA, Galli A, Shippenberg TS (2003) J Neurosci 23(24): 8480-8
    › Primary publication · 13679416 (PubMed) · PMC6740378 (PubMed Central)
  29. Dopamine transport currents are promoted from curiosity to physiology. Sulzer D, Galli A (2003) Trends Neurosci 26(4): 173-6
    › Primary publication · 12689764 (PubMed)
  30. Selective decreases in amphetamine self-administration and regulation of dopamine transporter function in diabetic rats. Galici R, Galli A, Jones DJ, Sanchez TA, Saunders C, Frazer A, Gould GG, Lin RZ, France CP (2003) Neuroendocrinology 77(2): 132-40
    › Primary publication · 12624535 (PubMed)
  31. PI 3-kinase regulation of dopamine uptake. Carvelli L, Morón JA, Kahlig KM, Ferrer JV, Sen N, Lechleiter JD, Leeb-Lundberg LM, Merrill G, Lafer EM, Ballou LM, Shippenberg TS, Javitch JA, Lin RZ, Galli A (2002) J Neurochem 81(4): 859-69
    › Primary publication · 12065645 (PubMed)
  32. Cocaine increases dopamine uptake and cell surface expression of dopamine transporters. Daws LC, Callaghan PD, Morón JA, Kahlig KM, Shippenberg TS, Javitch JA, Galli A (2002) Biochem Biophys Res Commun 290(5): 1545-50
    › Primary publication · 11820798 (PubMed)
  33. Amphetamine-induced loss of human dopamine transporter activity: an internalization-dependent and cocaine-sensitive mechanism. Saunders C, Ferrer JV, Shi L, Chen J, Merrill G, Lamb ME, Leeb-Lundberg LM, Carvelli L, Javitch JA, Galli A (2000) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 97(12): 6850-5
    › Primary publication · 10823899 (PubMed) · PMC18764 (PubMed Central)
  34. Functional role of low-voltage-activated dihydropyridine-sensitive Ca channels during the action potential in adult rat sensory neurones. Ferroni A, Galli A, Mazzanti M (1996) Pflugers Arch 431(6): 954-63
    › Primary publication · 8927515 (PubMed)
  35. Inactivation of single Ca2+ channels in rat sensory neurons by extracellular Ca2+. Galli A, Ferroni A, Bertollini L, Mazzanti M (1994) J Physiol 477(Pt 1): 15-26
    › Primary publication · 8071882 (PubMed) · PMC1155570 (PubMed Central)
  36. Inactivation of L-type Ca channels in embryonic chick ventricle cells: dependence on the cytoskeletal agents colchicine and taxol. Galli A, DeFelice LJ (1994) Biophys J 67(6): 2296-304
    › Primary publication · 7696470 (PubMed) · PMC1225614 (PubMed Central)
  37. Sodium-dependent norepinephrine-induced currents in norepinephrine-transporter-transfected HEK-293 cells blocked by cocaine and antidepressants. Galli A, DeFelice LJ, Duke BJ, Moore KR, Blakely RD (1995) J Exp Biol 198(Pt 10): 2197-212
    › Primary publication · 7500004 (PubMed)
  38. Somatostatin release is enhanced in the hippocampus of partially and fully kindled rats. Vezzani A, Monno A, Rizzi M, Galli A, Barrios M, Samanin R (1992) Neuroscience 51(1): 41-6
    › Primary publication · 1361218 (PubMed)
  39. Effect of firing rate on the calcium permeability in adult neurons during spontaneous action potentials. Mazzanti M, Galli A, Ferroni A (1992) Biophys J 63(4): 926-34
    › Primary publication · 1330040 (PubMed) · PMC1262230 (PubMed Central)