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Yukiko Goda

MRC Cell Biology Unit

Regulation of synapse form and function

Synapse, a specialized zone of contact between two neurons, is the site at which communication takes place in the brain. Although neurons have reached the state of terminal differentiation, synapses continually form and are eliminated depending on the pattern of neural activity. We study how synaptic activity shapes the structural organization of central synapses, and in turn, determines the connectivity pattern of neuronal networks. By combining imaging, electrophysiology and molecular biology in simple neuronal circuits formed in culture, we hope to provide a molecular link for understanding processes that are thought to involve controlled changes in neuronal connectivity in the adult brain, such as memory consolidation.


Potential PhD projects includes (i) investigating the regulatory mechanisms of synaptic vesicle mobilization and neurotransmitter release by the synaptic adhesion and scaffolding molecules and (ii) examining the molecular factors that govern the geometric arrangement and the strength of synapses within a network.


Darcy, K., Staras, K., Collinson, L., and Goda, Y (2006)
Constitutive sharing of recycling synaptic vesicles between presynaptic boutons.
Nat. Neurosci. 9, 315-321

Dillon, C. and Goda, Y. (2005)
The actin cytoskeleton: Integrating form and function at the synapse.
Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 28, 25-54

Tarsa, L. and Goda, Y. (2002)
Synaptophysin regulates activity-dependent synapse formation in cultured hippocampal neurons.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (track II) 99, 1012-1016.

Colicos, M. A., Collins, B. E., Sailor, M. J. and Goda, Y. (2001)
Remodeling of synaptic actin induced by photoconductive stimulation.
Cell 107, 605-616.

Morales, M., Colicos, M. A., Goda, Y. (2000)
Actin-dependent regulation of neurotransmitter release at central synapses.
Neuron 27, 539-550.


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