School of Medical Sciences


Receptor Signalling Laboratory

Receptor Signalling Laboratory


Research interests


The Laboratory of Receptor Signalling focuses predominantly on the signalling interactions of G-protein coupled receptors, and their potential role in neurodegenerative disease. We have a particular interest in cannabinoid CB1 receptors, their signalling interactions with other GPCRs and their contribution to neuroprotection or neurodegeneration in diseases such as Huntington's disease.

Our work focuses on using cell models to understand receptor signalling and cross talk, as well as utilising cells to model disease processes such as those that occur in Huntington's disease. We correlate information gained in this way with the pathology seen in animal models of disease, as well as in the human brain, through collaborations with the Neurological Foundation Human Brain bank, and other researchers.

Research fellows


Graduate students


  • Megan Dowie (PhD)
  • Catherine Goodfellow (PhD)
  • Natasha Grimsey (PhD)
  • Candy Wu (BSc(hons))

Research projects


  • Cannabinoid receptors in Huntington's disease
    •  Alternations in CB1 and cannabinoid induced neuroprotection in transgenic mice model. 
    • Interaction of Huntington protein Htt and CB1 receptors in a cell model of Huntington's Cannabinoid receptors in human blood cells
    • A new collaboration with Prof Rod Dunbar's laboratory at SBS to determine the role of cannabinoid receptors on human immune cells. Trafficking of CB1 and CB2 receptors
  • Determining the factors that govern the fate of cannabinoid receptors following activation. Cannabinoid receptors and enzymes in the placenta.

Research collaborations


Facilities / technology


  • Radioligand binding assays (homogenate binding, autoradiography)
  • Signal transduction assays (cAMP assays, immunocytochemistry, receptor trafficking)
  • Immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridisation and immunocytochemistry
  • Cell sorting (FACS), immunoprecipitation and cell culture.

Publications (since 2000)


  • Dowie MJ, Bradshaw HB, Howard ML, Nicholson LF, Faull RL, Hannan AJ and Glass M (2009) Altered CB1 receptor and endocannabinoid levels precede motor symptom onset in a transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease. Neuroscience In Press
  • Allen KL, Waldvogel HJ, Glass M and Faull RLM (2009) Cannabinoid CB1, GABAA and GABAB receptor subunit changes in the globus pallidus in Huntington's disease. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 37(4):266-81
  • Chamley LW, Bhalla A, Stone PR, Liddell H, O'Carroll S, Kearn C and Glass M (2008) Nuclear Localisation of the Endocannabinoid Metabolizing Enzyme Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) in Invasive Trophoblasts and an Association with Recurrent Miscarriage. Placenta. 29, 970-975
  • Grimsey NL, Narayan PJ, Dragunow M and Glass M (2008) A novel high-throughput assay for the quantitative assessment of receptor trafficking. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 35, p1377-1382.
  • Graham ES, Ashton JC and Glass M (2008) Cannabinoid receptors: A brief history and "whats hot". Frontiers In Bioscience, 14, p944-957, 2008, http://www.bioscience.org/current/special/pfleger.htm
  • Scotter EL, Narayan P, Glass M and Dragunow M (2008) High Throughput Quantification of Mutant Huntington Aggregates. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 171(1):174-9.
  • Grimsey NL, Goodfellow CE, Scotter EL, Dowie MJ, Glass M and Graham ES (2008) Specific detection of CB1 receptors; cannabinoid CB1 receptor antibodies are not all created equal. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 171(1):78-86
  • Mitchell MD, Sato TA, Wang A, Keelan JA, Ponnampalam AP and Glass M (2008) Cannabinoids stimulate prostaglandin production by human gestational tissues through a tissue- and CB1-receptor-specific mechanism. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 294(2):E352-6.
  • McPartland JM, Glass M and Pertwee R (2007) Meta-analysis of cannabinoid ligand binding affinity and receptor distribution: interspecies differences. British Journal of Pharmacology. 152(5):583-93.
  • Ashton, JC and Glass M (2007) The cannabinoid CB2 receptor as a target for inflammation-dependent neurodegeneration. Current Neuropharmacology. 5 (2): 73-80
  • McPartland JM, Glass M, Matias I, Norris RW and Kilpatrick CW (2007). A shifted repertoire of endocannabinoid genes in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Mol Genet Genomics. 2277 (5): 555-570
  • Ashton JC, Rahman RM, Nair SM, Sutherland BA, Glass M and Appleton I (2007) Cerebral hypoxia-ischemia and middle cerebral artery occlusion induce expression of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor in the brain. Neurosci Lett. 412(2):114-7 
  • Graham ES, Ball N, Scotter EL, Narayan P, Dragunow M and Glass M (2006) Induction of KROX-24 by endogenous CB1 receptors in neuro2A cells is mediated by the MEK-ERK MAPK pathway and is suppressed by the PI3K pathway J. Biol. Chem., 281(39):29085-95.
  • McPartland JM, Agraval J, Gleeson D, Heasman K and Glass M (2006) Cannabinoid receptors in invertebrates: levels of evidence, and implications for animal systematics. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 19: 366–373
  • Curtis M, Faull RLM and Glass M (2006) A Novel Population Of Progenitor Cells Expressing Cannabinoid Receptors In The Subependymal Layer Of The Adult Normal And Huntington's Disease Human Brain., Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 31(3):210-215.
  • Saidak Z, Blake-Palmer K, Hay DL, Northup JK and Glass M (2006) Differential activation of G-proteins by m-opioid receptor agonists. British Journal of Pharmacology. 147(6):671-80.
  • McPartland JM, Matias I DiMarzo V and Glass M (2006) Phylogenomic analysis of nine endocannabinoid genes. Gene. 370:64-74
  • Glass M, Hong J, Sato TA and Mitchell MD (2005). Misidentification of prostamides as prostaglandins. Journal of Lipid Research 46: 1364 - 1368.
  • Kearn CS, Blake-Palmer K, Daniel E, Mackie K and Glass M. (2005). Concurrent Stimulation Of Cannabinoid CB1 And Dopamine D2 Receptors Enhances Heterodimer Formation: A Mechanism For Receptor Crosstalk? Molecular Pharmacology 67:1697-1704.
  • Helliwell RJ, Chamley LW, Blake-Palmer K, Mitchell MD, Wu J, Kearn CS and Glass, M. (2004) Characterization of the endocannabinoid system in early human pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 89(10):5168-74.
  • Glass M, van Dellen A, Blakemore C, Hannan AJ and Faull RLM (2004). Delayed onset of Huntington's disease in mice in an enriched environment correlates with delayed loss of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Neuroscience 123(1): 207-12.
  • Park B, McPartland JM and Glass M (2004). Cannabis, cannabinoids and reproduction. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 70(2): 189-97.
  • McPartland JM and Glass M (2003). Functional mapping of cannabinoid receptor homologs in mammals, other vertebrates, and invertebrates. Gene 312: 297-303.
  • Park B, Gibbons HM, Mitchell MD and Glass M (2003). Identification of the CB1 Cannabinoid Receptor and Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) in the Human Placenta. Placenta 24(10): 990-995
  • McAllister SD and Glass M (2002). CB(1) and CB(2) receptor-mediated signalling: a focus on endocannabinoids. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 66(2-3): 161-71. 
  • McPartland JM and Glass M (2001) Nematicidal effects of hemp (Cannabis sativa) may not be mediated by cannabinoid receptors. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science. 29: 301-307
  • McPartland J, Di Marzo V, De Petrocellis L, Mercer A and Glass M. (2001) Cannabinoid receptors are absent in insects. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 436(4):423-9.
  • Glass M (2001). The role of cannabinoids in neurodegenerative diseases. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 25(4): 743-65.