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Synaptic transmission in the neocortex

Objective



Research objectives and content
The objectives of the proposed research are to determine the properties of excitatory synaptic transmission at the level of individual synapses between pyramidal neurons of the neocortex. Combined electrophysiological recordings and calcium imaging will be performed on connected layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in brain slices using the whole-cell patch clamp technique and confocal imaging. This will allow the isolation of postsynaptic responses from single synaptic connections at well defined locations on the dendritic arbor. In addition, it will be possible to correlate the postsynaptic response with both presynaptic and postsynaptic changes in calcium concentration.This technique will make it possible to gain a better understanding of several poorly understood properties of synaptic transmission. Through the measurement of presynaptic calcium changes it will be possible to examine some possible causes for failure to release transmitter in response to action potentials generated at the soma. It will also be possible to determine the variability in postsynaptic responses at individual synapses. Finally, the influence of the location of the synapse with respect to the somas of the presynaptic and postsynaptic neuron will be investigated.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The laboratory of Prof. Dr. Sakmann has developed excellent techniques for studying synaptic transmission between connected pairs of pyramidal neurons in the neocortex through a combination of electrophysiology and calcium imaging. The proposed project takes full advantage of this expertise of the laboratory and I will thus be able to learn the techniques involved in making paired recordings from connected pyramidal neurons in the neocortical slice together with high resolution calcium imaging. It is, of course, also hoped that much will be learnt concerning excitatory synaptic transmission in the neocortex at the level of individual synapses, which should lead to a better understanding of how neurons communicate in a close to physiological setting.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
No links with industry.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)

Coordinator

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.
Address
Jahnstraße 29
69120 Heidelberg
Germany