Dept. of Neurobiology UAB

Birmingham AL

Recent research highlights

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At individual synapses, the number of neurotransmitter-filled vesicles released dictates the reliability and temporal fidelity of synaptic transmission. It is widely accepted that the product of each vesicle's release probability solely determines whether multiple vesicles can be released simultaneously, but here we show that this assumption does not hold at two synapses. Synapsin-dependent regulation of the readily-released pool of vesicles determines the number of vesicles released per active zone independent of a vesicle's release probability, resolving long-standing questions about the mechanisms that control the number of vesicles released at each active zone.

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As the dentate gyrus accumulates more neurons, the number of neurons in the cortex remains unchanged. Do some cortical neurons transfer their connections – called synapses – to the new neurons? Or does the brain generate additional synapses to accommodate the newborn cells? We show that increasing the number of newborn neurons reduced the number of synapses between the cortex and the mature neurons in the dentate gyrus. Conversely, killing off newborn neurons had the opposite effect, increasing the strength of the synaptic connections to older cells. This suggests that new synapses are not formed to accommodate new neurons, but rather that there is a redistribution of synapses between old and new neurons in the dentate gyrus.


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Linda Overstreet-Wadiche
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Linda received a BS in Biology from North Park University in Chicago, IL. In 1997 she received her Ph.D. from the Department of Physiology at Northwestern University Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. N. Traverse Slater. From 1998-2004 she was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Gary Westbrook at the Vollum Institute, Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Wadiche became a Research Assistant Professor at the Vollum Institute in 2004. In 2006 she joined UAB as an Assistant Professor.

Jacques Wadiche
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Jacques is a graduate of Northwestern University with a B.A. in Neurobiology and Physiology. At Northwestern he gained an appreciation for basic science research and moved to Baylor College of Medicine where he worked on nicotinic receptors before enrolling in graduate school at the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Craig Jahr’s laboratory at the Vollum Institute, prior to joining UAB as an Assistant Professor in 2006.

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