CAST and ELKS: molecular determinants for the presynaptic active zone

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015, 11:00 AM
Elmore Auditorium
Toshihisa Ohtsuka, MD, PhD, University of Yamanashi, Japan
Samuel M. Young, Jr., PhD
(561) 972-9000

Event Information

Presynaptic active zone is a slightly-electron dense region just beneath the presynaptic plasma membrane, where synaptic vesicles, containing neurotransmitters such as glutamate and GABA, dock, fuse and release the content into the synaptic cleft in a Ca2+-dependent manner. This precisely ordered regulation of neurotransmitter release from the active zone is crucial for normal brain functions such as learning and memory, emotion and consciousness. Currently, a few active zone-specific proteins have been identified and characterized, including Bassoon, Piccolo/Aczonin, RIM1, Munc13-1, CAST/ERC2, and ELKS. These relatively large proteins with significant domain structures have been shown to interact with each other, forming a large macromolecular complex, and play pivotal roles in the structure and function of the presynaptic active zone. In this seminar, I would like to summarize biochemical properties of CAST and ELKS protein family and then show possible physiological significance of CAST/ELKS-mediated protein-protein interactions in excitatory neurotransmitter release. Finally, I also present recent findings about the effect of CAST/ELKS deletion on the integrity and function of specialized active zone in the mouse retina, ribbon synapse.

This seminar is open to faculty, scientists, and students from Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and the Scripps Research Institute Florida, located on FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, Florida. If you belong to an institution outside of the Jupiter campus and would like to attend, please send a request to seminars@mpfi.org