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Molecular Neurobiology Projects

Functional role of monoamines in mammalian physiology

Molecular Neurobiology

Contacts: Raul Gainetdinov (Senior researcher), Tatiana Sotnikova (Team leader).

Monoamines, such as dopamine, are key neurotransmitters in the CNS that regulate behavior and motor activity. Their dysfunctions are found in Parkinson’s Disease, schizophrenia and ADHD. By using mutant mice deficient in critical components of dopamine homeostasis and GPCR regulation, we study the mechanisms of dopamine neurotransmission. We are also investigating the role of trace amines and their receptors (TAARs) in neuronal functions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 16:36

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Pathogenesis of Brain diseases

Molecular Neurobiology

The basic properties of information processing at the synapse are precociously altered in an array of human diseases of the central nervous system. Specifically, synaptic dysfunction is believed to play a crucial role in early pathogenic stages of several neurological diseases, including epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia and several neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson disease or Alzheimer disease).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 16:35

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Role of neurotrophins in neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity

Molecular Neurobiology

Contacts: Marco Canossa (Senior Researcher).
In the last decade, the development of new techniques has resulted in an explosion of new research showing that neurogenesis, the birth of new neurons, normally occurs in two limited and specific regions of the adult mammalian brain: the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 16:35

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Micro RNA, neurogenesis and neural plasticity

Molecular Neurobiology

Contacts: Davide De Pietri Tonelli, Tatiana Tkatch (Team leaders).

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that regulate protein expression by suppressing translation and destabilizing messenger RNAs with specific target sequences. Hundreds of miRNAs are expressed in mammalian brain and recent studies suggest a possible role of miRNAs in neurogenesis and synaptic function.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 16:35

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Molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission

Molecular Neurobiology

Contacts: Fabio Benfenati (Director); Mounia Chami (Team leader).

The investigation on the molecular basis of synaptic plasticity will include the molecular analysis of a range of processes that mediate the changes in the efficiency of synaptic transmission such as: the modulation of neurotransmitter release machinery, the functional characterization of key synaptic proteins and of the roadmap of signal transduction and protein phosphorylation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 16:34

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