Araç Laboratory at UChicago

Araç Laboratory

Our laboratory uses molecular approaches to understand brain and neuron function.

We are interested in neurons, synapse formation and validation by cell adhesion molecules: Adhesion GPCRs and Teneurins

All Adhesion GPCRs contain an extracellular GAIN domain

The interaction between the GAIN domain and the 7-pass transmembrane domains, both canonical features of the Adhesion GPCR, will be crucial to our understanding of this receptor family.

Structural Biology of Adhesion GPCRs

Structural Biology has been and will be crucial for an understanding of Adhesion GPCR function.

Disease Mutations in GAIN domains

GAIN domains are heavily mutated in cancers and brain diseases.



The extracellular region of GPR56 contains a PLL domain

We identified a unique protein domain at the N-terminus of GPR56 which we termed Pentraxin and LNS-like (PLL). We showed this domain plays a key role in regulating G protein signaling.


Our lab studies the mechanism by which adhesion-type G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) function in the brain. One of our current goals is to decipher the role of the newly discovered GAIN domain in the function of the adhesion GPCR using a combination of biophysical, biochemical and cell biological approaches.
  • We use the tools of protein biochemistry and structural biology to aid us in understanding function.
  • The insights we gain from biochemistry and biophysics direct our research into the physiology and cell biology of adhesion GPCRs, especially relevant to the brain.
  • We collaborate with neuroscientists and geneticists to understand physiology at the level of the organism.
We are a biochemistry lab deeply entrenched in the field of neuroscience. Our interests extend to synapse formation and validation, and various cell adhesion properties of neurons, and the biochemistry of neurodevelopmental diseases.
Please feel free to visit our lab at the GCIS Building if you have similar interests and would like to talk to us about your research and insights.

Araç Lab Updates

Sumit and Ethan were awarded fellowships!

Sumit Bandekar was awarded an F32 training fellowship from the NIH and Ethan Dintzner was awarded two fellowships: a SURF undergraduate fellowship from ASPET, and a BSD developmental neuroscience summer fellowship! Congrats to Sumit and Ethan!