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The Molecular Control of Synaptic Plasticity and Its Importance for Precision Neuroscience, Clive Bramham, MD/PhD
October 6, 2016 @ 3:45 pm - 4:10 pm
Clive Bramham, MD/PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Biomedicine and KG Jebsen Centre for Neuropsychiatric Disorders, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway —
The adaptive capacity of the brain depends on synaptic plasticity â€“ the ability of a synapse to change in strength in response to use or disuse. Plasticity in neural circuits shapes emotional responses, cognitive flexibility, and underlies memory formation. Aberrant synaptic plasticity likely impacts human cognition in brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimerâ€™s disease. I will present recent insights on the molecular control of long-term synaptic plasticity mediated at the level of gene expression and protein function. The neuronal activity-induced protein, Arc, has emerged as a potential master regulator of synaptic plasticity. The unique properties of Arc, from gene to protein, constitute a fine-tuned system for encoding information in neural circuits. Although Arc has ancient retroviral origins, it is a highly specialized vertebrate-specific gene. Recent genetic evidence suggests that Arc signaling is disrupted in schizophrenia and autism.