Centre for Neurotechnology seminar from Juan Burrone
Professor of Development Neurophysiology, King’s College London
Chandelier cells shine a light on the emergence of GABAergic circuits in the cortex
Abstract: GABAergic interneurons are chiefly responsible for controlling the activity of local circuits in the cortex. Chandelier cells (ChCs) are a type of GABAergic interneuron that control the output of hundreds of neighbouring pyramidal cells through axo-axonic synapses which target the axon initial segment (AIS). Despite their importance in modulating circuit activity, our knowledge of the development and function of axo-axonic synapses remains elusive. We have investigated the emergence and plasticity of axo-axonic synapses in layer 2/3 of the somatosensory cortex (S1) and found that ChCs follow what appear to be homeostatic rules when forming synapses with pyramidal neurons. We are currently implementing in vivo techniques to image the process of axo-axonic synapse formation during development and uncover the dynamics of synaptogenesis and pruning at the AIS. In addition, we are using an all-optical approach to both activate and measure the activity of chandelier cells and their postsynaptic partners in the primary visual cortex (V1) and somatosensory cortex (S1) in mice, also during development. We aim to provide a structural and functional description of the emergence and plasticity of a GABAergic synapse type in the cortex.
Bio: Juan Burrone graduated from the University of Bristol, UK, in 1995 with a BSc in Biochemistry. He obtained a PhD from Cambridge University in 2000, having worked under the supervision of Prof. Leon Lagnado at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). He then moved to the Molecular and Cellular Biology department at Harvard University, USA, to join Prof. Venkatesh Murthy’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2006 he joined the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology where he is currently a professor working on the formation and plasticity of neuronal circuits in the brain.
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