Bellen Lab

Matthew Moulton

Matthew Moulton

BS, Brigham Young University
PhD, University of Utah (Anthea Letsou)

Research Interests

Research into Alzheimer's disease (AD) has led to the identification of key molecular players in the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease. However, despite tremendous efforts, few effective therapeutic options are available for AD patients. In an effort to identify gene candidates that might prove useful for therapeutic intervention, I seek to better understand the molecular underpinnings of AD. Our lab has demonstrated that proper lipid generation and storage is critical for healthy brain function. While it is clear that under stress conditions, neurons produce lipids that are exported and endocytosed by glia to make lipid droplets (LDs), we do not know all the genes involved in this neuron-to-glia shuttling of lipids. I am undertaking an effort to identify these genes and examine their role in LD formation and clearance of the neurotoxic molecule Aβ42. Aβ42, a protein fragment produced by cleavage of APP, is lipophilic and we predict that it can be endocytosed through the same pathway used to endocytose lipids potentially leading to its sequestration and/or degradation. Thus, the formation of LDs may be beneficial in sequestering toxic species of lipids and proteins and an important pathway to consider for the development AD therapies.


Goodman LD, Moulton MJ, Bellen HJ (2024) Glial lipid droplets resolve ROS during sleep. Nat Neurosci 27(4):610-612.  [Abstract]
Ralhan I, Chang J, Moulton MJ , Goodman LD, Lee NYJ, Plummer G, Pasolli HA, Matthies D, Bellen HJ , Ioannou MS (2023) Autolysosomal exocytosis of lipids protect neurons from ferroptosis. Journal of Cell Biology 222(6), doi: 10.1083/jcb.202207130:.  [Abstract]
Ma M*, Moulton MJ*, Lu S, Bellen HJ (2022) 'Fly-ing' from rare to common neurodegenerative disease mechanisms. Trends in Genetics :DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2022.03.018. *contributed equally [Abstract]
Moulton MJ, Barish S, Ralhan I, Chang J, Goodman LD, Harland JG, Marcogliese PC, Johansen J, Ioannou M, Bellen HJ (2021) Neuronal ROS-Induced Glial Lipid Droplet Formation is Altered by Loss of Alzheimer Disease-associated Genes. PNAS 118(52):e2112095118.  [Abstract]
Goodman LD, Cope H, Nil Z, Ravenscroft, TA, Charng WL, Lu S, Tien AC, Pfundt R, Koolen DA, Haaxma CA, Veenstra-Knol HE, Wassink-Ruiter JSK, Wevers MR, Jones M, Walsh LE, Klee VH, Theunis M, Legius E, Steel D, Barwick KES, Kurian MA, Mohammad SS, Dale RC, Terhal PA, van Binsbergen E, Kirmse B, Robinette B, Cogne B, Isidor B, Grebe TA, Kulch P, Hainline BE, Sapp K, Morava E, Klee EW, Macke EL, Trapane P, Spencer C, Si Y, Begtrup A, Moulton MJ, Dutta D, Kanca O, UDN Consortia, Wangler MF, Yamamoto S, Bellen HJ*, Tan QKG*  (2021) De novo TNPO2 variants are associated with developmental delays, neurologic deficits and dysmorphic features in humans and alter TNPO2 activity in DrosophilaAmerican Journal of Human Genetics :DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.06.019. *equal contribution [Abstract]
Moulton MJ, Humphreys GB, Kim A, Letsou A  (2020) O-GlcNAcylation Dampens Dpp/BMP Signaling to Ensure Proper Drosophila Embryonic Development. Developmental Cell 53:330-343.e3.  [Abstract]
Xie Y, Kaufmann D*, Moulton MJ*, Panahi S, Gaynes JA, Watters HN, Zhou D, Xue HH, Fung CM, Levine EM, Letsou A, Brennan KC, Dorsky RI (2016) Lef1-dependent hypothalamic neurogenesis inhibits anxiety. PLoS Biology 15:e2002257. (*equal contribution) [Abstract]
Moulton MJ, Letsou A (2016) Modeling congenital disease and inborn errors of development in Drosophila melanogasterDisease Models & Mechanisms 9:253-269.  [Abstract]
Robertson JA, Ślipiński A, Moulton MJ, Shockley FW, Giorgi A, Lord NP, McKenna DD, Tomaszewska W, Forrester J, Miller KB, Whiting MF, McHugh JV (2015) Phylogeny and classification of Cucujoidea and the recognition of a new superfamily Coccinelloidea (Coleoptera: Cucujiformia)Systematic Entomology 40:745-778.   
Cline AR, Smith TR, Miller KB, Moulton MJ, Whiting MF, Audisio P (2014) Molecular phylogeny of Nitidulidae: assessment of subfamilial and tribal classification and formalization of the family Cybocephalidae (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea)Systematic Entomology 39:758-772.   
Song H, Moulton MJ, Whiting MF (2014) Rampant nuclear insertion of mtDNA across diverse lineages within Orthoptera (Insecta)PLoS One 9:e110508.  [Abstract]
Song H, Moulton MJ, Hiatt KD, Whiting MF (2013) Uncovering historical signature of mitochondrial DNA hidden in the nuclear genome: The biogeography of Schistocerca revisited. Cladistics 29:643-662.   
Moulton MJ, Song H, Whiting MF (2010) Assessing the effects of primer specificity on eliminating numt coamplification in DNA barcoding: a case study from Orthoptera (Arthropoda: Insecta)Molecular Ecology Resources 10:615-627.  [Abstract]

Last Modified 12-04-2023

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