Signaling from Synapse to Nucleus

Transport of molecules from the synapse to the nucleus of neurons is particularly challenging because synapses are often very far from the cell body.  Our lab has described a role for importin-mediate active transport of signals from synapse to nucleus during long-term plasticity. Current research is aimed at 1) identifying synaptically localized cargoes that undergo stimulus-induced nuclear import during neuronal plasticity, 2) understanding how synaptic stimulation triggers their nuclear import, and 3) characterizing the cell biological pathways mediating the long-distance retrograde transport from synapse to nucleus. We are also focused on identifying the specific changes in transcription that are required for long-term plasticity, and on understanding the function of transcriptional changes in gene expression in synaptic plasticity.