Ben Cheyette, MD PHD

Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
+1 415 476-7826

The major direction of research in my laboratory is to use transgenic mouse models, primary neural cell culture, and other molecular tools to investigate neurodevelopmental and behavioral functions of genes/proteins implicated in psychiatric disease through contemporary large-scale human genetic studies. There is broad consensus that major psychiatric disorders have a substantial developmental component and can result from defects in the organization of neurons as they are born, mature, and grow. The molecules that are a focus of research in my laboratory are involved in intercellular signaling pathways that contribute to these biological processes: in particular we specialize in the Wnt signaling pathway based on several lines of evidence that disruption of this pathway can contribute to major mental disorders and is a target of psychiatric pharmacology. Our studies have honed in on the role of this pathway in the development of synapses and of neuronal architecture in the forebrain, especially the prefrontal cortex.

Research Summary: 
Signaling in Psychiatry



Neurodevelopmental Perspectives on Wnt Signaling in Psychiatry.

Molecular Neuropsychiatry

Mulligan KA, Cheyette BN

DIXDC1 contributes to psychiatric susceptibility by regulating dendritic spine and glutamatergic synapse density via GSK3 and Wnt/ß-catenin signaling.

Molecular psychiatry

Martin PM, Stanley RE, Ross AP, Freitas AE, Moyer CE, Brumback AC, Iafrati J, Stapornwongkul KS, Dominguez S, Kivimäe S, Mulligan KA, Pirooznia M, McCombie WR, Potash JB, Zandi PP, Purcell SM, Sanders SJ, Zuo Y, Sohal VS, Cheyette BN

Acute exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome prevented by prn oral triptan

Clin J Gastroenterology

<strong>Cheyette BN</strong>, Cheyette SN

<em>ADHD & The Focused Mind</em>

<em>ADHD & The Focused Mind</em>

Cheyette SR, Johnson P, <strong>Cheyette BN</strong>

A rare WNT1 missense variant overrepresented in ASD leads to increased Wnt signal pathway activation.

Translational psychiatry

Martin PM, Yang X, Robin N, Lam E, Rabinowitz JS, Erdman CA, Quinn J, Weiss LA, Hamilton SP, Kwok PY, Moon RT, Cheyette BN

Wnt signaling in vertebrate neural development and function.

Journal of neuroimmune pharmacology : the official journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology

Mulligan KA, Cheyette BN

Abnormal behavior in mice mutant for the Disc1 binding partner, Dixdc1.

Translational psychiatry

Kivimäe S, Martin PM, Kapfhamer D, Ruan Y, Heberlein U, Rubenstein JL, Cheyette BN

Synaptic Wnt signaling-a contributor to major psychiatric disorders?

Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders

Okerlund ND, Cheyette BN

Dact1 is a postsynaptic protein required for dendrite, spine, and excitatory synapse development in the mouse forebrain.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Okerlund ND, Kivimäe S, Tong CK, Peng IF, Ullian EM, Cheyette BN

Dact1-3 mRNAs exhibit distinct expression domains during tooth development.

Gene expression patterns : GEP

Kettunen P, Kivimäe S, Keshari P, Klein OD, Cheyette BN, Luukko K

Posterior malformations in Dact1 mutant mice arise through misregulated Vangl2 at the primitive streak.

Nature genetics

Suriben R, Kivimäe S, Fisher DA, Moon RT, Cheyette BN

Modulation of the beta-catenin signaling pathway by the dishevelled-associated protein Hipk1.

PloS one

Louie SH, Yang XY, Conrad WH, Muster J, Angers S, Moon RT, Cheyette BN

Dact1, a nutritionally regulated preadipocyte gene, controls adipogenesis by coordinating the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling network.


Lagathu C, Christodoulides C, Virtue S, Cawthorn WP, Franzin C, Kimber WA, Nora ED, Campbell M, Medina-Gomez G, Cheyette BN, Vidal-Puig AJ, Sethi JK

DACT3 is an epigenetic regulator of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in colorectal cancer and is a therapeutic target of histone modifications.

Cancer cell

Jiang X, Tan J, Li J, Kivimäe S, Yang X, Zhuang L, Lee PL, Chan MT, Stanton LW, Liu ET, Cheyette BN, Yu Q

Dopa-responsive dystonia presenting as delayed and awkward gait.

Pediatric neurology

Cheyette BN, Cheyette SN, Cusmano-Ozog K, Enns GM

Dact1 presomitic mesoderm expression oscillates in phase with Axin2 in the somitogenesis clock of mice.

Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists

Suriben R, Fisher DA, Cheyette BN

Three Dact gene family members are expressed during embryonic development and in the adult brains of mice.

Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists

Fisher DA, Kivimäe S, Hoshino J, Suriben R, Martin PM, Baxter N, Cheyette BN

D2 dopamine receptors colocalize regulator of G-protein signaling 9-2 (RGS9-2) via the RGS9 DEP domain, and RGS9 knock-out mice develop dyskinesias associated with dopamine pathways.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Kovoor A, Seyffarth P, Ebert J, Barghshoon S, Chen CK, Schwarz S, Axelrod JD, Cheyette BN, Simon MI, Lester HA, Schwarz J

Ryk: another heretical Wnt receptor defies the canon.

Science's STKE : signal transduction knowledge environment

Cheyette BN

Dapper, a Dishevelled-associated antagonist of beta-catenin and JNK signaling, is required for notochord formation.

Developmental cell

Cheyette BN, Waxman JS, Miller JR, Takemaru K, Sheldahl LC, Khlebtsova N, Fox EP, Earnest T, Moon RT

Homeobox genes and connective tissue patterning.

Development (Cambridge, England)

Oliver G, Wehr R, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Cheyette BN, Hartenstein V, Zipursky SL, Gruss P