Neurons have the capacity to undergo activity-dependent changes in their molecular composition and structure. Such neuronal plasticity appears to contribute to a variety of processes including learning and memory and neuronal diseases. Activity-dependent changes in neurons involve alterations in gene expression, posttranslational modifications, and intracellular translocation of proteins.
We describe these changes and aim to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms.
We study two main topics:
1. We aim to encompass the transcriptional profile of different forms of neuronal activity and to identify regulatory determinants controlling these transcriptional changes.
2. We characterize selected genes identified in our surveys in detail. Of these, several are genetically associated with neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, we are interested in proteins, which may convey neuronal trafficking events and alter the composition of synaptic protein networks.
We use multidisciplinary approaches that employ bioinformatics, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell culture, and mouse models.