Project Detail
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Molecular mechanisms regulating synaptic strength  

The long-term goal of this project is to define molecular mechanisms that control synaptic strength. Synapses are dynamic. Once formed, neural circuits evolve by the addition and elimination of synaptic connections and the modification of their strength. Setting and modifying the strength of synapses is important for refining developing circuits, and defects in these mechanisms are a likely etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and mental retardation. To define molecular mechanisms that control synaptic strength, this study uses genetic, anatomical, and electrophysiological analysis in fruit flies. In screens that searched for genes required for efficient synaptic transmission, four mutants were identified. These mutants will be characterized to uncover the molecular mechanisms that form and maintain the active zone sites that release neurotransmitters in synapses. This research will improve understanding of how nerve cells connect and communicate in the brain, which could aid in the future development of new therapies for neurological diseases. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $299,250.00
Project Number 5R01NS043171-07
Principal Investigator DiAntonio, Aaron
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective 2O. Not specific to Question 2 objectives
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Washington University in St. Louis
State/Country Missouri
Web Link 1 Molecular mechanisms regulating synaptic strength (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Molecular mechanisms regulating synaptic strength | $296,257.00 | 2010 | 5R01NS043171-08
Molecular mechanisms regulating synaptic strength (supplement) | $32,258.00 | 2009 | 3R01NS043171-06A2S1