Department of Molecular Neurobiology
Key molecules for excitatory synaptic function are receptor channels located in the postsynaptic membrane and activated by glutamate, the brain's most prevalent excitatory neurotransmitter. Using advanced transgenic technologies, we manipulate properties of glutamate receptor channels expressed in different populations of central neurons, either constitutively or in an inducible manner. Targeted property changes include biophysical characteristics such as gating kinetics and permeability for calcium ions, susceptibility to the posttranscriptional modifications of splicing and RNA editing by site selective adenosine deamination, subunit composition, expression levels, and interactions with components of the postsynaptic density.
We then evaluate with our collaborators the consequences of the genetic manipulations for both synaptic physiology and learning behaviour.