P.I. Ramon Jorquera
Collaborator Dr. C.-F. Wu, University of Iowa
Neuronal communications requires the availability of synaptic vesicles for neurotransmitter release. During his postdoctoral study, Dr. Jorquera demonstrated that complexin, a small cytosolic protein that binds the vesicle fusion complex, regulates vesicle availability in Drosophila, as well as vesicle trafficking between functional pools of synaptic vesicles. This is an exciting finding because it suggests a novel role for complexin in addition to its well defined function in the final steps of exocytosis. Because complexin dysfunction has been widely implicated in human diseases, including schizophrenia and Huntingtons, as well as cognitive dysfunction in the cortex and hippocampus, there is an important need to define the role of complexin in vesicle pool dynamics and in short-term plasticity. Defining the biological role of vesicle cycling in neural plasticity and complexin regulation in the brain represents a fundamental advance in our understanding of the biology of the synapse and neuronal communication. This is the focus of Dr. Jorquera’s project.