Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Seminar Series Presents
Karen Zito, PhD
Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, UC Davis Center for Neuroscience
Host: Richard Roth (Ding lab)
Experience-dependent modifications of neural circuit connections are vital for the fine-tuning of developing circuits and during learning and memory. Over the past few decades, advances in fluorescent labeling and imaging techniques have enabled direct visualization of the structural and functional reorganization of neuronal circuits during experience-dependent circuit plasticity. Dendritic spines have been a major focus of these studies; the establishment or elimination of neural circuit connections is reflected in the gain or loss of dendritic spines, and increased or decreased synaptic strength in the enlargement or shrinkage of spines. I will present the results of our ongoing efforts to define the molecular signaling mechanisms that drive the structural modifications of dendritic spines during neural circuit plasticity, including an unexpected role for ion flux-independent signaling through NMDA-type glutamate receptors in driving bidirectional synaptic structural plasticity.