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Molecular mechanisms of synapse assembly and maturation

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Air date: Friday, January 27, 2017, 12:00:00 PM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
Views: Total views: 168, (35 Live, 133 On-demand)
Category: NIH Director's Seminars
Runtime: 01:03:22
Description: Director's Seminar Series

The Section on Cellular Communication is interested in understanding how chemical synapses are assembled and sculpted during development and homeostasis. We focus on glutamatergic synapse development, in particular on the role of cell-cell communication in the initial clustering of receptors and formation of functional synapses, and in their fine-tuning during plasticity. Many neurological disorders are linked with defects in synaptogenesis; however, the initial clustering functions are poorly understood. We address these fundamental issues using a powerful genetic system, Drosophila melanogaster, and a comprehensive set of approaches including genetics, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and electrophysiology. We have recently identified a key auxiliary protein for glutamatergic synapses, called Neto, that is essential for synapse development and function both in Drosophila and mammals. Our studies demonstrate that trafficking of glutamate receptor subtypes on the cell membrane, their synaptic recruitment and stabilization, and their function are tightly regulated by Neto. Neto also appears to be at the center of trans-synaptic complexes that monitor the synapse activity status and relay this information to the pre- and post-synaptic compartments. On the presynaptic site, we discovered that Neto engages a completely novel BMP signaling modality that enables BMPs to monitor synapse activity and coordinate it with synapse growth and maturation.
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Author: Michaela Serpe, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, Section on Cellular Communication, NICHD, NIH
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CIT Live ID: 21719
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