Imaging dynamics of endogenous protein interactions in single dendritic spines

2018 Scientific Innovations Award
Ryohei Yasuda, Ph.D.
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Changes in the efficiency of synaptic communications between neurons underlie learning and memory. This process is called synaptic plasticity and is caused by biochemical reactions mediated by hundreds of species of molecules in each synapse. Many mental diseases are caused by failure of this process. However, the exact process of biochemical reaction in each synapse is not well understood, partly due to the lack of techniques for monitoring biochemical reactions in single synapses. Thus, in this project, we will establish a novel imaging technique to monitor precise biochemical reactions in single synapses by combining cutting-edge genome-editing techniques with advanced imaging technology. We expect that this will greatly improve our understanding of molecular processes underlying synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory, and will provide new insights into the mechanism of mental diseases.