Making Memories Stick: Adhesion Complexes at the Synapse
Shernaz Bamji, Ph.D. Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Host: Aaron Gitler
Cell adhesion molecules are localized to sites of synaptic contact between nerve cells. Although, these molecules bridge pre- and postsynaptic specializations, they do far more than simply provide a mechanical link between cells. Indeed, synaptic adhesion proteins participate in the formation, function and plasticity of synaptic connections. We have demonstrated that the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules plays a key role in regulating synapse plasticity, the cellular substrate for learning and memory. This presentation highlights the molecular mechanism underlying cadherin-mediated synaptic plasticity and demonstrates that that aberrant increases in synaptic adhesion can have deleterious effects on cognitive function including learning, memory and addiction.