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Dynamic changes in neuronal synaptic efficacy, termed synaptic plasticity, has long been postulated to underlie information coding and storage in learning and memory. One of the best-studied forms of such plasticity is long-term potentiation (LTP) which produces a persistent increase in the synaptic strength in neurons, characterized by an increase in the size of dendritic spines and the number of synaptic α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionic acid (AMPA)-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs). LTP requires a mechanism that converts short calcium (Ca 2+ ) pulses into persistent biochemical signalling to support the changes in the function and structure of synapses over long period of time. In this symposium, Prof. Hayashi (Japan) will describe a novel positive feedback loop model in dendritic spines, termed “reciprocal activating kinase-effector complex”, that enables the persistent confinement of molecular memory. This process involves the interplay between Ca 2+ /Calmodulin-dependent Kinase II (CaMKII), the RacGEF Tiam1 and the small GTPase Rac1 in maintaining structural plasticity during LTP.

The other major mechanism that regulates synaptic strength involves the tightly regulated trafficking of AMPARs into and out of synapses. The life cycle of AMPARs from their biosynthesis, membrane trafficking and synaptic targeting to their degradation are controlled by a series of orchestrated interactions with numerous intracellular regulatory proteins as well as by various post-translational modifications that occur on their cytoplasmic carboxyl terminal domains. Prof. Xia (Hong Kong) will provide new insights into the roles of Protein Interacting with C-Kinase 1 (PICK1), which directly interacts with the GluA2 subunit of AMPARs, and its interacting partner ICA69 in regulating the trafficking and synaptic targeting of AMPARs during synaptic plasticity. While Dr. Anggono (Australia) will present mechanistic details on the important role of post-translational ubiquitination in controlling the sorting of AMPARs through the intracellular endosomal compartments following neuronal activation, and how dysfunction in this process contributes to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, Dr. Zhang (China) will introduce the latest technique in visualizing the activity-dependent insertion of AMPARs in the mouse somatosensory barrel cortex using in vivo two-photon microscopy. Through this symposium, we hope to share and discuss the latest findings and techniques in the field to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic and structural plasticity in the mammalian central nervous system, and ultimately their physiological roles in higher order brain function.
  • DAYS
Key Dates

Deadline for PTA Application:
June 20, 2018

Deadline for Young Investigator Colloquium submission:
February 28, 2018

Deadline for Abstract submission

June 30, 2018

Conference Date:
August 27-29, 2018