On Wednesday 30 March 2011, Dr Charles Claudianos, of the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience unit within the Queensland Brain Institute, will speak on the subject of the neurexin and neuroligin complex: codes, circuits and cognitive disorder.
As soon as we are born, we need to interpret our world through our senses, pay attention, make associations and lay down memory for our survival. A complex backdrop of molecular, cellular and physiological changes wires circuits for timely sensory response and memory storage. At the centre of this plasticity is the synaptic switch. Interactions between pre-synaptic neurexin and post-synaptic neuroligin / LRRTM proteins specify the development of excitatory (GLUTamatergic) and inhibitory (GABAergic) synapses. Our understanding of these molecules is centred on the hypothesis that there is an optimal spatio-temporal code of neurexin-neuroligin/LRRTM interaction that guides synapse development in the post-natal brain. In humans, alterations in genes encoding neurexins, neuroligins and LRRTM’s are implicated in cognitive disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and X-linked mental retardation.
We use insect model species, the Drosophila fly and honeybee, to examine the biological role of these molecules with regard to two cognitive processes fundamental to healthy brain function: sensory response and learning and memory. Biochemical interaction, changes in gene expression and targeted disruption of these molecules are examined in context to associative olfactory learning and visual response in the animal. These data are analysed together with candidate human genes to create informative molecular networks for profiling cognitive disorder.
Date: Wednesday 30 March 2011
Place: Level 7 Auditorium, QBI Building (#79), St.Lucia Campus
For a list of upcoming seminars at QBI, go to www.qbi.uq.edu.au/neuroscience-seminars.