Most brain synapses release the neurotransmitter glutamate. Despite its ubiquitous nature, very little is known about how presynaptic terminals recycle or otherwise replace the released glutamate. Without an efficient glutamate recycling mechanism synapses would quickly become depleted of neurotransmitter, so deciphering these cellular processes is vitally important for understanding how synapses work over sustained periods of time.
To investigate synaptic transmission this project use brain slices from regions such as the hippocampus or auditory brainstem. We will record post-synaptic responses or directly study the presynaptic terminals by whole-cell patch-clamp or fluorescent imaging. The aim of this project is to identify the glutamate recycling mechanisms and to discover their role in maintaining the supply of glutamate for continued neurotransmission.