Berrak Ugur

Berrak Ugur

Research Interests

Mitochondria are essential for numerous biological processes including ATP production, fatty acid breakdown, Ca2+ homeostasis and Fe-S biogenesis. Hence dysfunction of any of these mitochondrial pathways can cause an exceptional phenotypic heterogeneity. To isolate genes that affect nervous system development, function and maintenance, we performed an unbiased, forward genetic screen for essential genes on the Drosophila X-chromosome and isolated 165 genes. 34 of the 165 genes encode mitochondrial proteins that are conserved in humans and loss of these genes in the fly causes multiple variable phenotypes. I am interested in identifying phenotypic patterns in mitochondrial mutants that will help us to understand underlying common molecular mechanisms by which mitochondrial dysfunction leads to neuronal demise and degeneration.


Ugur B, Bao H, Stawarski M, Duraine LR, Zuo Z, Lin YQ, Neely GG, Macleod GT, Chapman ER, Bellen HJ (2017) The Krebs cycle enzyme Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 3A couples mitochondrial metabolism to synaptic transmission. Cell Reports 21:3794-3806.  [Abstract]
Ugur B*, Chen K*, Bellen HJ (2016) Drosophila tools and assays for the study of human diseases. Disease Models & Mechanisms 9:235-244. (*equal contribution) [Abstract]
Haelterman NA, Jiang L, Li Y, Bayat V, Sandoval H, Ugur B, Tan KL, Zhang K, Bei D, Xiong B, Charng WL, Busby T, Jawaid A, David G, Jaiswal M, Venken KJ, Yamamoto S, Chen R, Bellen HJ (2014) Large-scale identification of chemically induced mutations in Drosophila melanogasterGenome Research 24:1707-1718.  [Abstract]