Fine tuning communication in synaptic networks
Synaptic strength and its use-dependent changes are crucial for how the brain perceives the environment, learns and stores memories. Yet, precisely how the strengths of individual synapses are set and controlled in relationship to other synapses sharing the connection, which in turn are crucial for particular behaviors, remain to be clarified. By combining electrophysiology, imaging, and molecular biology, we have studied the cellular rules that drive the activity-dependent spatial distribution of individual pre- and postsynaptic strengths across incoming axons onto a target neuron in hippocampal networks. Our recent findings highlighting asymmetric regulation of pre and postsynaptic strengths and work aimed at understanding a role for astrocytes in shaping the distribution of synaptic strengths will be presented.
Professor Yukiko Goda heads the Synapse Biology Unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University. She received her BSc from the University of Toronto and her PhD from Stanford University. After her postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute, she joined the faculty of Biology Division, University of California, San Diego in 1997. She then moved to the UK in 2002 as a Senior Group Leader in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at University College London, and from 2011 to 2022, she was a team leader at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute/Centre for Brain Science. Dr Goda’s research interests focus on synapses and astrocytes. Her laboratory investigates the cellular principles by which synaptic strengths are set and dynamically modified in defined neural circuits that are consequential to particular behaviors.