The Louis A. Bloomfield Memorial Lecture
March 13, 2023
Thomas C. Südhof, MD
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Avram Goldstein Professor, Department of Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
"The molecular machinery of synapse organization"
Host: Department of Neurosciences and the Cleveland Brain Health Initiative
Presented by Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine
Abstract: Synapses connect neurons into circuits in which they represent the basic computational unit. In transferring information from one neuron to the next, synapses exhibit diverse computational properties that are specified by the pre- and postsynaptic neuron. Excitatory and inhibitory synapses are constructed with the same canonical presynaptic architecture but comprise distinct postsynaptic molecular designs. How synapses are assembled and how their properties are specified is a key question in neuronal cell biology that is now beginning to be addressed. Recent work revealed that trans-synaptic signaling complexes formed by conserved cell-adhesion molecules such as neurexins, neuroligins, latrophilins, and teneurins play a central role both in the assembly and the specification of synapses. In my talk, I will discuss our recent work on these molecules and touch on potential implications not only for understanding how neural circuits are designed, but also how brain disorders might be driven, at least in part, by synaptic impairments.