The CNLM Colloquium Series showcases the latest in learning and memory research. This year, the series will feature the CNLM Faculty Fellows at UCI. Each talk will be held in person at the Herklotz Conference Facility in the CNLM and broadcast widely via Zoom to reach our colleagues around the world. Zoom link will be emailed the morning of the event.
Long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses is essential for multiple forms of learning and memory formation. Pioneering work from CNLM members and others led to a model for NMDAR-dependent LTP where synaptic strengthening depends on the recruitment of AMPA receptors to the postsynapse. Despite decades of research, the molecular mechanisms underlying the activity-dependent insertion of AMPA receptors at synapses, and specifically which regions in the receptor complex are required for trafficking and docking, are not fully understood. In the past few years, we have assessed the role played by different protein domains of the AMPAR complex in these processes, focusing on: i) the sequence diverse intracellular AMPAR C-tails, ii) the extracellular ATDs, which protrude into the synaptic cleft and iii) the AMPAR auxiliary proteins TARPs, which interact with synaptic scaffolds. Our recent and ongoing work is revealing an important role for all of these 3 elements, yet our data suggests that they play different roles in different synapses and control different AMPAR-dependent processes. I will discuss our unpublished work, in collaboration with other CNLM labs, dissecting novel molecular mechanisms modulating the activity-dependent synaptic accumulation and subsynaptic positioning of AMPARs to support novelty processing, learning and memory formation.