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Erik  Jorgensen

Phone: 801-585-3517
Office: 422 ASB

Erik Jorgensen

Professor of Biology
Adjunct Professor, Bioengineering
1983-1989 University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Department of Genetics, Ph.D. 1982-1983 University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, West Germany; Department of Biology, Major: Molecular of California at Berkeley, Department of Genetics, Major: Genetics


synaptic function, genetic engineering

Current Research

It is our goal to identify the molecules that function at the synapse and to understand how the activities of these molecules are changed to strengthen or weaken a synapse. To identify such molecules we have undertaken a genetic analysis of neurotransmission in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans is particularly advantageous for genetic studies of the nervous system for several reasons: First, mutants with defective synapses are viable and can be studied as adults. Second, we can select for mutants with defective neurotransmission using drug resistance screens. Third, we can characterize mutant synapses at the ultrastructural and electrophysiological level. Another project in the lab is to develop techniques to manipulate the genome of the worm, so that directed changes can be made to genes and chromosomes.

Selected Publications

Palfreyman MT, Jorgensen EM, Unc13 Aligns SNAREs and Superprimes Synaptic Vesicles. Neuron 2017 Aug 2;95(3):473-475

Topalidou I, Chen PA, Cooper K, Watanabe S, Jorgensen EM, Ailion M, The NCA-1 and NCA-2 Ion Channels Function Downstream of Gq and Rho To Regulate Locomotion in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2017 May;206(1):265-282

German CL, Gudheti MV, Fleckenstein AE, Jorgensen EM, Brain Slice Staining and Preparation for Three-Dimensional Super-Resolution Microscopy. Methods Mol Biol 2017;1663:153-162

Geisler F, Gerhardus H, Carberry K, Davis W, Jorgensen E, Richardson C, Bossinger O, Leube RE, A novel function for the MAP kinase SMA-5 in intestinal tube stability. Mol Biol Cell 2016 Dec 1;27(24):3855-3868

Edelman TL, McCulloch KA, Barr A, Frøkjær-Jensen C, Jorgensen EM, Rougvie AE, Analysis of a lin-42/period Null Allele Implicates All Three Isoforms in Regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans Molting and Developmental Timing. G3 (Bethesda) 2016 Dec 7;6(12):4077-4086

Hess J, Patra M, Rangasamy L, Konatschnig S, Blacque O, Jabbar A, Mac P, Jorgensen EM, Gasser RB, Gasser G, Organometallic Derivatization of the Nematocidal Drug Monepantel Leads to Promising Antiparasitic Drug Candidates. Chemistry 2016 Nov 7;22(46):16602-16612

Bend EG, Si Y, Stevenson DA, Bayrak-Toydemir P, Newcomb TM, Jorgensen EM, Swoboda KJ, NALCN channelopathies: Distinguishing gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutations. Neurology 2016 Sep 13;87(11):1131-9

Wheeler BS, Anderson E, Frøkjær-Jensen C, Bian Q, Jorgensen E, Meyer BJ, Chromosome-wide mechanisms to decouple gene expression from gene dose during sex-chromosome evolution. Elife 2016 Aug 30;5:

Frøkjær-Jensen C, Jain N, Hansen L, Davis MW, Li Y, Zhao D, Rebora K, Millet JRM, Liu X, Kim SK, Dupuy D, Jorgensen EM, Fire AZ, An Abundant Class of Non-coding DNA Can Prevent Stochastic Gene Silencing in the C. elegans Germline. Cell 2016 Jul 14;166(2):343-357

Li P, Merrill SA, Jorgensen EM, Shen K, Two Clathrin Adaptor Protein Complexes Instruct Axon-Dendrite Polarity. Neuron 2016 May 4;90(3):564-80

Jang S, Nelson JC, Bend EG, Rodríguez-Laureano L, Tueros FG, Cartagenova L, Underwood K, Jorgensen EM, Colón-Ramos DA, Glycolytic Enzymes Localize to Synapses under Energy Stress to Support Synaptic Function. Neuron 2016 Apr 20;90(2):278-91

Schwartz ML, Jorgensen EM, SapTrap, a Toolkit for High-Throughput CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Modification in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2016 Apr;202(4):1277-88

Alqadah A, Hsieh YW, Schumacher JA, Wang X, Merrill SA, Millington G, Bayne B, Jorgensen EM, Chuang CF, SLO BK Potassium Channels Couple Gap Junctions to Inhibition of Calcium Signaling in Olfactory Neuron Diversification. PLoS Genet 2016 Jan;12(1):e1005654

Jobson MA, Valdez CM, Gardner J, Garcia LR, Jorgensen EM, Beg AA, Spillover transmission is mediated by the excitatory GABA receptor LGC-35 in C. elegans. J Neurosci 2015 Feb 11;35(6):2803-16

Watanabe S, Trimbuch T, Camacho-Pérez M, Rost BR, Brokowski B, Söhl-Kielczynski B, Felies A, Davis MW, Rosenmund C, Jorgensen EM, Clathrin regenerates synaptic vesicles from endosomes. Nature 2014 Nov 13;515(7526):228-33

Hollopeter G, Lange JJ, Zhang Y, Vu TN, Gu M, Ailion M, Lambie EJ, Slaughter BD, Unruh JR, Florens L, Jorgensen EM, The membrane-associated proteins FCHo and SGIP are allosteric activators of the AP2 clathrin adaptor complex. Elife 2014 Oct 10;3:

Jorgensen EM, Animal evolution: looking for the first nervous system. Curr Biol 2014 Jul 21;24(14):R655-R658

Frøkjær-Jensen C, Davis MW, Sarov M, Taylor J, Flibotte S, LaBella M, Pozniakovsky A, Moerman DG, Jorgensen EM, Random and targeted transgene insertion in Caenorhabditis elegans using a modified Mos1 transposon. Nat Methods 2014 May;11(5):529-34

Liu Q, Frerck MJ, Holman HA, Jorgensen EM, Rabbitt RD, Exciting cell membranes with a blustering heat shock. Biophys J 2014 Apr 15;106(8):1570-7

Ailion M, Hannemann M, Dalton S, Pappas A, Watanabe S, Hegermann J, Liu Q, Han HF, Gu M, Goulding MQ, Sasidharan N, Schuske K, Hullett P, Eimer S, Jorgensen EM, Two Rab2 interactors regulate dense-core vesicle maturation. Neuron 2014 Apr 2;82(1):167-80

Rawson RL, Yam L, Weimer RM, Bend EG, Hartwieg E, Horvitz HR, Clark SG, Jorgensen EM, Axons degenerate in the absence of mitochondria in C. elegans. Curr Biol 2014 Mar 31;24(7):760-5

Kavalali ET, Jorgensen EM, Visualizing presynaptic function. Nat Neurosci 2014 Jan;17(1):10-6

Nix P, Hammarlund M, Hauth L, Lachnit M, Jorgensen EM, Bastiani M, Axon regeneration genes identified by RNAi screening in C. elegans. J Neurosci 2014 Jan 8;34(2):629-45

Watanabe S, Lehmann M, Hujber E, Fetter RD, Richards J, Söhl-Kielczynski B, Felies A, Rosenmund C, Schmoranzer J, Jorgensen EM, Nanometer-resolution fluorescence electron microscopy (nano-EM) in cultured cells. Methods Mol Biol 2014;1117:503-26

Watanabe S, Rost BR, Camacho-Pérez M, Davis MW, Söhl-Kielczynski B, Rosenmund C, Jorgensen EM, Ultrafast endocytosis at mouse hippocampal synapses. Nature 2013 Dec 12;504(7479):242-247

Peden AS, Mac P, Fei YJ, Castro C, Jiang G, Murfitt KJ, Miska EA, Griffin JL, Ganapathy V, Jorgensen EM, Betaine acts on a ligand-gated ion channel in the nervous system of the nematode C. elegans. Nat Neurosci 2013 Dec;16(12):1794-801

Ilovitsh T, Meiri A, Ebeling CG, Menon R, Gerton JM, Jorgensen EM, Zalevsky Z, Improved localization accuracy in stochastic super-resolution fluorescence microscopy by K-factor image deshadowing. Biomed Opt Express 2013 Dec 16;5(1):244-58

Ebeling CG, Jorgensen EM, Two views on light sheets. Nat Biotechnol 2013 Nov;31(11):992-3

Hodges J, Tang X, Landesman MB, Ruedas JB, Ghimire A, Gudheti MV, Perrault J, Jorgensen EM, Gerton JM, Saffarian S, Asymmetric packaging of polymerases within vesicular stomatitis virus. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2013 Oct 18;440(2):271-6

Watanabe S, Liu Q, Davis MW, Hollopeter G, Thomas N, Jorgensen NB, Jorgensen EM, Ultrafast endocytosis at Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junctions. Elife 2013 Sep 3;2:e00723

Qi YB, Po MD, Mac P, Kawano T, Jorgensen EM, Zhen M, Jin Y, Hyperactivation of B-Type Motor Neurons Results in Aberrant Synchrony of the Caenorhabditis elegans Motor Circuit. J Neurosci 2013 Mar 20;33(12):5319-5325

Gu M, Liu Q, Watanabe S, Sun L, Hollopeter G, Grant BD, Jorgensen EM, AP2 hemicomplexes contribute independently to synaptic vesicle endocytosis. Elife 2013 Mar 5;2:e00190

Jurrus E, Watanabe S, Giuly RJ, Paiva AR, Ellisman MH, Jorgensen EM, Tasdizen T, Semi-automated neuron boundary detection and nonbranching process segmentation in electron microscopy images. Neuroinformatics 2013 Jan;11(1):5-29

Watanabe S, Richards J, Hollopeter G, Hobson RJ, Davis WM, Jorgensen EM, Nano-fEM: protein localization using photo-activated localization microscopy and electron microscopy. J Vis Exp 2012 Dec 3;(70):e3995

White JQ, Jorgensen EM, Sensation in a single neuron pair represses male behavior in hermaphrodites. Neuron 2012 Aug 23;75(4):593-600

Ernstrom GG, Weimer R, Pawar DR, Watanabe S, Hobson RJ, Greenstein D, Jorgensen EM, V-ATPase V1 sector is required for corpse clearance and neurotransmission in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2012 Jun;191(2):461-75

Watanabe S, Jorgensen EM, Visualizing proteins in electron micrographs at nanometer resolution. Methods Cell Biol 2012;111:283-306

Frøkjær-Jensen C, Davis MW, Ailion M, Jorgensen EM, Improved Mos1-mediated transgenesis in C. elegans. Nat Methods 2012 Jan 30;9(2):117-8

Zhang H, Constantine R, Vorobiev S, Chen Y, Seetharaman J, Huang YJ, Xiao R, Montelione GT, Gerstner CD, Davis MW, Inana G, Whitby FG, Jorgensen EM, Hill CP, Tong L, Baehr W, UNC119 is required for G protein trafficking in sensory neurons. Nat Neurosci 2011 Jun 5;14(7):874-80

Liu Q, Jorgensen E, Muscle memory. J Physiol 2011 Feb 15;589(Pt 4):775-6

Hobson RJ, Liu Q, Watanabe S, Jorgensen EM, Complexin maintains vesicles in the primed state in C. elegans. Curr Biol 2011 Jan 25;21(2):106-13

Watanabe S, Punge A, Hollopeter G, Willig KI, Hobson RJ, Davis MW, Hell SW, Jorgensen EM, Protein localization in electron micrographs using fluorescence nanoscopy. Nat Methods 2011 Jan;8(1):80-4

Jurrus E, Paiva AR, Watanabe S, Anderson JR, Jones BW, Whitaker RT, Jorgensen EM, Marc RE, Tasdizen T, Detection of neuron membranes in electron microscopy images using a serial neural network architecture. Med Image Anal 2010 Dec;14(6):770-83

Frøkjaer-Jensen C, Davis MW, Hollopeter G, Taylor J, Harris TW, Nix P, Lofgren R, Prestgard-Duke M, Bastiani M, Moerman DG, Jorgensen EM, Targeted gene deletions in C. elegans using transposon excision. Nat Methods 2010 Jun;7(6):451-3

Jospin M, Qi YB, Stawicki TM, Boulin T, Schuske KR, Horvitz HR, Bessereau JL, Jorgensen EM, Jin Y, A neuronal acetylcholine receptor regulates the balance of muscle excitation and inhibition in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Biol 2009 Dec;7(12):e1000265

Frøkjaer-Jensen C, Jorgensen EM, Calcium: an insignificant thing. Nat Neurosci 2009 Oct;12(10):1213-4

Liu Q, Hollopeter G, Jorgensen EM, Graded synaptic transmission at the Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009 Jun 30;106(26):10823-8

Hammarlund M, Nix P, Hauth L, Jorgensen EM, Bastiani M, Axon regeneration requires a conserved MAP kinase pathway. Science 2009 Feb 6;323(5915):802-6

Gu M, Schuske K, Watanabe S, Liu Q, Baum P, Garriga G, Jorgensen EM, Mu2 adaptin facilitates but is not essential for synaptic vesicle recycling in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Cell Biol 2008 Dec 1;183(5):881-92

Frøkjaer-Jensen C, Davis MW, Hopkins CE, Newman BJ, Thummel JM, Olesen SP, Grunnet M, Jorgensen EM, Single-copy insertion of transgenes in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nat Genet 2008 Nov;40(11):1375-83

Davis MW, Morton JJ, Carroll D, Jorgensen EM, Gene activation using FLP recombinase in C. elegans. PLoS Genet 2008 Mar 21;4(3):e1000028

Hammarlund M, Watanabe S, Schuske K, Jorgensen EM, CAPS and syntaxin dock dense core vesicles to the plasma membrane in neurons. J Cell Biol 2008 Feb 11;180(3):483-91

Beg AA, Ernstrom GG, Nix P, Davis MW, Jorgensen EM, Protons act as a transmitter for muscle contraction in C. elegans. Cell 2008 Jan 11;132(1):149-60

White JQ, Nicholas TJ, Gritton J, Truong L, Davidson ER, Jorgensen EM, The sensory circuitry for sexual attraction in C. elegans males. Curr Biol 2007 Nov 6;17(21):1847-57

Peters MA, Teramoto T, White JQ, Iwasaki K, Jorgensen EM, A Calcium Wave Mediated by Gap Junctions Coordinates a Rhythmic Behavior in C. elegans. Curr Biol 2007 Sep 18;17(18):1601-8

Jospin M, Watanabe S, Joshi D, Young S, Hamming K, Thacker C, Snutch TP, Jorgensen EM, Schuske K, UNC-80 and the NCA ion channels contribute to endocytosis defects in synaptojanin mutants. Curr Biol 2007 Sep 18;17(18):1595-600

Hammarlund M, Palfreyman MT, Watanabe S, Olsen S, Jorgensen EM, Open syntaxin docks synaptic vesicles. PLoS Biol 2007 Aug;5(8):e198

Schuske K, Palfreyman MT, Watanabe S, Jorgensen EM, UNC-46 is required for trafficking of the vesicular GABA transporter. Nat Neurosci 2007 Jul;10(7):846-53

Speese S, Petrie M, Schuske K, Ailion M, Ann K, Iwasaki K, Jorgensen EM, Martin TF, UNC-31 (CAPS) is required for dense-core vesicle but not synaptic vesicle exocytosis in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Neurosci 2007 Jun 6;27(23):6150-62

Bednarek EM, Schaheen L, Gaubatz J, Jorgensen EM, Fares H, The plasma membrane calcium ATPase MCA-3 is required for clathrin-mediated endocytosis in scavenger cells of Caenorhabditis elegans. Traffic 2007 May;8(5):543-53

Palfreyman M, Jorgensen EM, PKC defends crown against Munc13. Neuron 2007 Apr 19;54(2):179-80

Hammarlund M, Jorgensen EM, Bastiani MJ, Axons break in animals lacking beta-spectrin. J Cell Biol 2007 Jan 29;176(3):269-75

Morton J, Davis MW, Jorgensen EM, Carroll D, Induction and repair of zinc-finger nuclease-targeted double-strand breaks in Caenorhabditis elegans somatic cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006 Oct 31;103(44):16370-5

Wardell B, Marik PS, Piper D, Rutar T, Jorgensen EM, Bamber BA, Residues in the first transmembrane domain of the Caenorhabditis elegans GABA(A) receptor confer sensitivity to the neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate. Br J Pharmacol 2006 May;148(2):162-72

Hammarlund M, Davis MW, Nguyen H, Dayton D, Jorgensen EM, Heterozygous insertions alter crossover distribution but allow crossover interference in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2005 Nov;171(3):1047-56

Davis MW, Hammarlund M, Harrach T, Hullett P, Olsen S, Jorgensen EM, Rapid single nucleotide polymorphism mapping in C. elegans. BMC Genomics 2005 Sep 12;6:118

Jorgensen EM, GABA. WormBook 2005 Aug 31;:1-13

Williams DC, Boulin T, Ruaud AF, Jorgensen EM, Bessereau JL, Characterization of Mos1-mediated mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans: a method for the rapid identification of mutated genes. Genetics 2005 Mar;169(3):1779-85

Bamber BA, Richmond JE, Otto JF, Jorgensen EM, The composition of the GABA receptor at the Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junction. Br J Pharmacol 2005 Feb;144(4):502-9

Davis MW, Birnie AJ, Chan AC, Page AP, Jorgensen EM, A conserved metalloprotease mediates ecdysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Development 2004 Dec;131(23):6001-8

Schuske K, Beg AA, Jorgensen EM, The GABA nervous system in C. elegans. Trends Neurosci 2004 Jul;27(7):407-14

Schuske K, Jorgensen EM, Neuroscience. Vesicular glutamate transporter--shooting blanks. Science 2004 Jun 18;304(5678):1750-2

Schuske KR, Richmond JE, Matthies DS, Davis WS, Runz S, Rube DA, van der Bliek AM, Jorgensen EM, Endophilin is required for synaptic vesicle endocytosis by localizing synaptojanin. Neuron 2003 Nov 13;40(4):749-62

Beg AA, Jorgensen EM, EXP-1 is an excitatory GABA-gated cation channel. Nat Neurosci 2003 Nov;6(11):1145-52

Weimer RM, Richmond JE, Davis WS, Hadwiger G, Nonet ML, Jorgensen EM, Defects in synaptic vesicle docking in unc-18 mutants. Nat Neurosci 2003 Oct;6(10):1023-30

Weimer RM, Jorgensen EM, Controversies in synaptic vesicle exocytosis. J Cell Sci 2003 Sep 15;116(Pt 18):3661-6

Bamber BA, Twyman RE, Jorgensen EM, Pharmacological characterization of the homomeric and heteromeric UNC-49 GABA receptors in C. elegans. Br J Pharmacol 2003 Mar;138(5):883-93

Jorgensen EM, Mango SE, The art and design of genetic screens: caenorhabditis elegans. Nat Rev Genet 2002 May;3(5):356-69

Knobel KM, Davis WS, Jorgensen EM, Bastiani MJ, UNC-119 suppresses axon branching in C. elegans. Development 2001 Oct;128(20):4079-92

Harris TW, Schuske K, Jorgensen EM, Studies of synaptic vesicle endocytosis in the nematode C. elegans. Traffic 2001 Sep;2(9):597-605

Bessereau JL, Wright A, Williams DC, Schuske K, Davis MW, Jorgensen EM, Mobilization of a Drosophila transposon in the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line. Nature 2001 Sep 6;413(6851):70-4

Richmond JE, Weimer RM, Jorgensen EM, An open form of syntaxin bypasses the requirement for UNC-13 in vesicle priming. Nature 2001 Jul 19;412(6844):338-41

Yook KJ, Proulx SR, Jorgensen EM, Rules of nonallelic noncomplementation at the synapse in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2001 May;158(1):209-20

Harris TW, Hartwieg E, Horvitz HR, Jorgensen EM, Mutations in synaptojanin disrupt synaptic vesicle recycling. J Cell Biol 2000 Aug 7;150(3):589-600

Hammarlund M, Davis WS, Jorgensen EM, Mutations in beta-spectrin disrupt axon outgrowth and sarcomere structure. J Cell Biol 2000 May 15;149(4):931-42

Richmond JE, Davis WS, Jorgensen EM, UNC-13 is required for synaptic vesicle fusion in C. elegans. Nat Neurosci 1999 Nov;2(11):959-64

Knobel KM, Jorgensen EM, Bastiani MJ, Growth cones stall and collapse during axon outgrowth in Caenorhabditis elegans. Development 1999 Oct;126(20):4489-98

Dal Santo P, Logan MA, Chisholm AD, Jorgensen EM, The inositol trisphosphate receptor regulates a 50-second behavioral rhythm in C. elegans. Cell 1999 Sep 17;98(6):757-67

Richmond JE, Jorgensen EM, One GABA and two acetylcholine receptors function at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction. Nat Neurosci 1999 Sep;2(9):791-7

Bamber BA, Beg AA, Twyman RE, Jorgensen EM, The Caenorhabditis elegans unc-49 locus encodes multiple subunits of a heteromultimeric GABA receptor. J Neurosci 1999 Jul 1;19(13):5348-59

Jorgensen EM, Hartwieg E, Schuske K, Nonet ML, Jin Y, Horvitz HR, Defective recycling of synaptic vesicles in synaptotagmin mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 1995 Nov 9;378(6553):196-9

Wittwer CT, Graves CP, Peterson MA, Jorgensen E, Wilson DE, Thoene JG, Wyse BW, Windham CT, Hansen RG, Pantethine lipomodulation: evidence for cysteamine mediation in vitro and in vivo. Atherosclerosis 1987 Nov;68(1-2):41-9