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LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

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Research Synopsis

In the Salinas lab we are interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying formation and maintenance of central synapses. Neuronal activity modulates the structural and functional plasticity of synapses through regulating the localisation of receptors for neurotransmitters and synaptogenic factors. Wnts are secreted glycoproteins that play a critical role in synaptogenesis and synaptic morphology, axonal and dendritic remodelling and tuning of neurotransmitter release. We have previously shown that neuronal activity regulates surface targeting of Fz5, a receptor for Wnts, at synapses. Furthermore Fz5 is required for activity-mediated synaptogenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these observations are still unknown. In my PhD I am using a combination of cell biology and biochemistry techniques to understand how Fz5 is trafficked and stabilised at synapses upon neuronal activity. This could help us to understand how Wnt signalling modulates activity-driven synaptic formation and plasticity.