Ion channel receptors and synaptic transmission


Prof Alasdair Gibb
Professor Alasdair Gibb
Tel: +44 20 7679 1398
Email: a.gibb@ucl.ac.uk

Lab members:

Faye McLeod PhD

Aude Marzo Ph.D.

Alasdair Gibb graduated in 1980 from the University of Strathclyde with a BSc joint honours degree in Biochemistry and Pharmacology. He stayed on at Strathclyde to do a PhD, studying the mechanisms of action of neuromuscular blocking drugs. After doing postdoctoral research at the Australian National University in Canberra, he came to the Pharmacology Department at UCL in 1986 to take a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Professor Colquhoun and was appointed Lecturer in the department in 1990. He is a past member of the MRC New Investigator Awards Panel, Editor and Distributing Editor of the Journal of Physiology, Coordinator of the Ion Channels Special Interest Group of the Physiological Society, Editor of the British Journal of Pharmacology and is currently an Editor of Molecular Pharmacology. He is one of the coordinators of the Wellcome Trust 4 year PhD Programme in Neuroscience. He was a joint winner of the Faculty of Life Sciences Teaching Prize for 2003. Since 2002 Alasdair has lectured on the IBRO VLTP courses in Advanced Neurosciences. The VLTP receive funding through IBRO from UNESCO and the Grass Foundation programme to deliver neuroscience teaching to postgraduate students in developing countries around the world. Each course provides 8-10 days of intensive lecture and tutorial-based teaching to from 50-80 postgraduate students and Faculty from local Universities. He is presently a Professor of Pharmacology at UCL.

Alasdair Gibb’s research interests are in the properties of glutamate receptors and synaptic transmission in the central nervous system (CNS). These are by far the most common receptors involved in fast, excitatory, synaptic transmission between central neurones. Of the two most common types of glutamate receptor, our main interest is in the NMDA receptor. The NMDA receptor generates a relatively slow synaptic current which is partly carried by calcium ions. This calcium influx into a neurone is critically involved in synaptic plasticity and integration of synaptic activity by postsynaptic density proteins such as calmodulin, calcineurin and calcium and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase. Our experiments aim to provide a quantitative description of NMDA receptor activity and the effect of drugs on these receptors. In collaboration with Susan Jones in Cambridge we study the properties of NMDA receptors in basal ganglia neurones involved in Parkinson’s disease. In collaborations with the laboratory of Patricia Salinas at UCL we investigate the modulation of synaptic activity by Wnt proteins. The overall intention is to improve understanding of synaptic transmission in the brain.

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Selected Publications:

Wild, A., Akyol, E., Brothwell, SLC Kimkool, P., Skepper, J.N., Gibb, A.J. & Jones, S. (2013). Memantine block depends on agonist presentation at the NMDA receptor in substantia nigra pars compacta dopamine neurons. Neuropharmacology 73:138-146.

Stamatakou E, Marzo A, Gibb A, Salinas PC. (2013). Activity-dependent spine morphogenesis: a role for the actin-capping protein eps8. Journal of Neuroscience. 33:2661-2670.

Palczynska, MM, Jindrichova, M, Gibb AJ and Millar NS (2012). Activation of alpha7 nicotinic receptors by orthosteric and allosteric agonists: influence on single-channel kinetics and conductance. Molecular Pharmacology. 82:1–8.

Telezhkin, V. Brown, D.A. and Gibb A.J. (2012). Distinct subunit contributions to the activation of M-type potassium channels by PI(4,5)P2. Journal of General Physiology, 140:41-53.

Coppi E, Pedata F, and Gibb AJ. (2012). P2Y1 receptor modulation of Ca2+-activated K+ currents in medium-sized neurons from neonatal rat striatal slices. Journal of Neurophysiol. 107:1009-1021.

Ciani, L., Boyle, K., Sahores, M., Anane, D., Dickins, E., Gibb. A.J. and Salinas, P. (2011). Wnt7a signalling promotes dendritic spine growth and synaptic strength through CaMKII., PNAS 108(26):10732-7.

Suárez,F., Zhao, Q., Monaghan, D.T., Jane, D.E., Jones, S. and Gibb A.J. (2010). Functional heterogeneity of NMDA receptors in rat substantia nigra pars compacta and reticulata neurones. European Journal of Neuroscience, 32:359-367.

Sahores, M., Gibb, A.J., Salinas, P. (2010). Frizzled-5, a receptor for the synaptic organizer Wnt7a, regulates activity-mediated synaptogenesis. Development, 137:2215-25.

Brothwell SL, Barber JL, Monaghan DT, Jane DE, Gibb AJ, Jones S. (2008). NR2B- and NR2D-containing synaptic NMDA receptors in developing rat substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurones. J Physiol. 586(3):739-50.

Kracun S, Harkness PC, Gibb AJ, Millar NS. (2008). Influence of the M3-M4 intracellular domain upon nicotinic acetylcholine receptor assembly, targeting and function. Br J Pharmacol. 153(7):1474-1484.

Lansdell SJ, Collins T, Yabe A, Gee VJ, Gibb AJ, Millar NS. (2008). Host-cell specific effects of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor chaperone RIC-3 revealed by a comparison of human and Drosophila RIC-3 homologues. J Neurochem. 105(5):1573-1581.

Tong H, Gibb AJ. (2008). Dopamine D1 receptor inhibition of NMDA receptor currents mediated by tyrosine kinase-dependent receptor trafficking in neonatal rat striatum. J Physiol. 586: 4693-4707.

Gibb AJ. (2008). A tingle of extra excitement with voltage dependence of NMDA receptor activation. J Physiol. 586:5607.