Is the 'shed' form of Sez6 proteins responsible for their synapse-promoting effects?

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Jenny Gunnersen jenny.gunnersen@unimelb.edu.au
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Kathryn Munro

Summary The Neuron Development and Plasticity group, led by Jenny Gunnersen, has the broad research goal of understanding how neurons become connected into functional circuits. We investigate the formation of dendritic branches and synapses, the connections between neurons, in development and in disease models. Changes in the number and strength of synaptic connections (plasticity) are vital for the development of effective neuronal circuitry and for learning and memory in the healthy brain. On the other hand, abnormal synapse numbers and activity are defining features of neurological disorders. Learning more about dendrite and synapse development and function in the healthy brain will help us decipher the aberrant molecular pathways responsible for cognitive disorders such as mental retardation, epilepsy, schizophrenia and dementia.

Project Details

The Neuron Development and Plasticity group, led by Jenny Gunnersen, has the broad research goal of understanding how neurons become connected into functional circuits. We investigate the formation of dendritic branches and synapses, the connections between neurons, in development and in disease models. Changes in the number and strength of synaptic connections (plasticity) are vital for the development of effective neuronal circuitry and for learning and memory in the healthy brain. On the other hand, abnormal synapse numbers and activity are defining features of neurological disorders. Learning more about dendrite and synapse development and function in the healthy brain will help us decipher the aberrant molecular pathways responsible for cognitive disorders such as mental retardation, epilepsy, schizophrenia and dementia.

 

Certain proteins, including Sez6 family proteins, can be located either on the surface of neurons or shed from the surface of neurons by the actions of particular proteases. Secreted proteins and shed forms of transmembrane proteins are then able to act on nearby neurons to influence their growth and the formation of synaptic connections. This project will compare the effects of secreted and shed forms of Sez6 family proteins on the growth of neuronal arbors (dendrites, axons) and synaptogenesis. 




Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


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