Assembly of Postsynaptic Protein Complexes in Hippocampal Neurons

Synapses, the connections that enable brain cells to communicate with each other, are fundamental to normal brain function. Studies suggest synapses form and mature quickly—in a few hours—but the molecular interactions that trigger this process in the central nervous system are unclear. Kimberly Gerrow is researching the molecular stages of synapse development in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in cognitive functions such as learning and memory. She is investigating the role of PSD-95 protein (postsynaptic density protein), in assembling molecules crucial for creating synapses. This could lead to improved understanding and treatment of neurological disorders that result from interruptions or abnormalities in synaptic development. The findings could also offer insights into ways of re-establishing functional brain connections that have been damaged by conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.