Associate Professor David Lucas Christie

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Honorary, Academic

Research | Current

Research concerns molecular and cellular studies of membrane transporters, receptors and channels. Our work with cell-based models of the creatine transporter, the membrane protein required for neurons to take up creatine, is well-known. Highlights include the identification of critical residues required of substrate recognition. Deficits in the creatine transporter lead to developmental delays in speech and language, autism and epilepsy and international clinical trials are underway to test the efficacy of creatine to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Our current focus is the regulation of creatine uptake by neurons. Through collaboration we are identifying which cells in the normal and diseased human brain contain the creatine transporter and related creatine system proteins (creatine kinases, and creatine synthesizing enzymes). We are investigating the idea that creatine is essential for mitochondrial function and that ‘creatine system proteins’ and mitochondria are co-regulated.

In separate collaborative research we are studying a novel family of receptors and ion-channels required for olfaction in insects. Cell-based assays are being used to study receptor structure and function and how these receptors can be targeted for pest and disease control.

Google Scholar Profile


Research Staff

PhD Students

Brijesh Kumar

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Lowe, M. T. J., Faull, R. L. M., Christie, D. L., & Waldvogel, H. J. (2015). Distribution of the creatine transporter throughout the human brain reveals a spectrum of creatine transporter immunoreactivity. The Journal of comparative neurology, 523 (5), 699-725. 10.1002/cne.23667
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Faull, Henry Waldvogel
  • Turner, R. M., Derryberry, S. L., Kumar, B. N., Brittain, T., Zwiebel, L. J., Newcomb, R. D., & Christie, D. L. (2014). Mutational analysis of cysteine residues of the insect odorant co-receptor (Orco) from Drosophila melanogaster reveals differential effects on agonist- and odorant-tuning receptor-dependent activation. The Journal of biological chemistry, 289 (46), 31837-31845. 10.1074/jbc.m114.603993
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Newcomb, Rebecca Turner
  • Lowe, M. T. J., Kim, E. H., Faull, R. L. M., Christie, D. L., & Waldvogel, H. J. (2013). Dissociated expression of mitochondrial and cytosolic creatine kinases in the human brain: a new perspective on the role of creatine in brain energy metabolism. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 33 (8), 1295-1306. 10.1038/jcbfm.2013.84
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Richard Faull
  • Kumar, B. N., Taylor, R. W., Pask, G. M., Zwiebel, L. J., Newcomb, R. D., & Christie, D. L. (2013). A conserved aspartic acid is important for agonist (VUAA1) and odorant/tuning receptor-dependent activation of the insect odorant co-receptor (Orco). PLoS One, 8 (7)10.1371/journal.pone.0070218
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Newcomb
  • de Souza, C. F., Kalloniatis, M., Christie, D. L., Polkinghorne, P. J., McGhee, C. N. J., & Acosta, M. L. (2012). Creatine transporter immunolocalization in aged human and detached retinas. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 53 (4), 1936-1945. 10.1167/iovs.11-8462
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Charles McGhee, Monica Acosta
  • Dodd, J. R., Birch, N. P., Waldvogel, H. J., & Christie, D. L. (2010). Functional and immunocytochemical characterization of the creatine transporter in rat hippocampal neurons. Journal of Neurochemistry, 115 (3), 684-693. 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06957.x
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Nigel Birch, Jo Dodd
  • Borges, V. M., Lee, T. W., Christie, D. L., & Birch, N. P. (2010). Neuroserpin Regulates the Density of Dendritic Protrusions and Dendritic Spine Shape in Cultured Hippocampal Neurons. JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH, 88 (12), 2610-2617. 10.1002/jnr.22428
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nigel Birch, Tet Woo Lee, Victor Borges
  • Acosta, M. L., Shin, Y.-S., Ready, S., Fletcher, E. L., Christie, D. L., & Kalloniatis, M. (2010). Retinal metabolic state of the proline-23-histidine rat model of retinitis pigmentosa. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-CELL PHYSIOLOGY, 298 (3), C764-C774. 10.1152/ajpcell.00253.2009