The Department of Neurosciences and the Cleveland Brain Health Initiative will host Thomas C. Südhof, an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Avram Goldstein Professor in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, for the Louis A. Bloomfield Memorial Lecture.
Südhof will present “The Molecular Machinery of Synapse Organization” Monday, March 13, at 4 p.m. in the Wolstein Research Building auditorium. A livestream also will be available.
Synapses connect neurons into circuits in which they represent the basic computational unit. In transferring information from one neuron to the next, synapses exhibit diverse computational properties that are specified by the pre- and postsynaptic neuron. Excitatory and inhibitory synapses are constructed with the same canonical presynaptic architecture but comprise distinct postsynaptic molecular designs.
How synapses are assembled and how their properties are specified is a key question in neuronal cell biology that is now beginning to be addressed. Recent work revealed that trans-synaptic signaling complexes formed by conserved cell-adhesion molecules such as neurexins, neuroligins, latrophilins and teneurins play a central role both in the assembly and the specification of synapses.
In this talk, Südhof will discuss his team’s recent work on these molecules and touch on potential implications not only for understanding how neural circuits are designed, but also how brain disorders might be driven, at least in part, by synaptic impairments.