Choosing MAO to study

How Dr. Shih came to MAO

Dr. Jean Chen Shih, University Professor and Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at the USC School of Pharmacy


• Following her teachers
• Her own project
• Enzymes
• Which enzyme?
• An unusual enzyme: MAO


Substrate and Inhibitor Specificities for Human Monoamine Oxidase A and B Are Influenced by a Single Amino Acid, 2001
Link to article: 2001 Substrate Geha RM

Cloning human MAO A & B: beyond expectation at that time

• Beyond expectations
• What is the molecular basis?
• The summary session
• They must be sequenced!
• Dr. Shih wants to solve the problem
Molecular biology
• Meeting Peter Seeburg
Serotonin receptor
• Let’s clone MAO too
• Clear-cut results


cDNA cloning of human liver monoamine oxidase A and B: Molecular basis of differences in enzymatic properties, 1988
1988 cDNA cloning

Discovering the gene structure

• Not at the top of the mountain yet
• Different ways to go
• Decisions and limitations
• Two directions: structure/function and gene structure
• The lottery! It matches!
• An important finding


Human monoamine oxidase A and B genes exhibit identical exon-intron organization, 1991
1991 Human MAO A B

Working with knockout mice

• Why knockout mice are important
• No progress
• A phone call
• Aggressive french mice
• Getting the mice to Los Angeles
• Testing the mice: They’re MAO A knockout mice
• A Gift from heaven


Aggressive Behavior and Altered Amounts of Brain Serotonin and Norepinephrine in Mice Lacking MAOA, 1995
1995 Altering Amounts of Brain Serotonin