2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Identifying proteins that underpin neuronal development and form
Brian A. Cary
Dr. Anton Weisstein, Faculty Mentor

A central question in developmental neurobiology is how complex and specific neuronal architecture is achieved. In this study, we investigated the roles of four different proteins either in synapse formation or dendrite branching: neuroligin (Nlgn), neurexin (Nrxn), protocadherins (Pcdhs), and collapsin response mediator protein (CRMP). After confirming that Pcdhs interact with both Nlgn and CRMP, we performed two separate cell culture immunofluorescent assays. The Pcdh/Nlgn assay involved co-transfecting Cos7 cells with different combinations of Nlgn and a specific Pcdh isoform, and visualizing synapse formation using confocal microscopy. We found that Pcdh isoforms differentially inhibit Nlgns ability to induce formation of a synapse, and preliminary evidence that Nlgn1 isoforms are differentially affected by this Pcdh inhibition. The CRMP assay involved overexpressing CRMP1/2 in neurons and measuring the amount of dendrite branching. It appeared that CRMP2 overexpression lowers dendrite branching.

Keywords: neuron, genetics, synapse formation, dendrite branching, immunofluorescence, microscopy


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 3-9
Location: GEO-SUB
Time: 3:30

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