Releasing the Brake on Synaptic Plasticity: Immune Genes Moonlighting in Neurons

12/21/2012; 63 minutes

Connections in the adult visual system are highly precise, but they do not start out that way. Precision emerges during critical periods of development as synaptic connections remodel, a process requiring neural activity and involving regression of some synapses and strengthening and stabilization of others. We discovered, unexpectedly, that MHC Class I genes and an innate immune receptor, PirB, are involved in this process. Thus, MHCI ligands signaling via PirB receptor may function to "brake" activity- dependent synaptic plasticity. Together, results imply that these molecules, thought previously to function only in the immune system, also act at neuronal synapses to limit how much- or perhaps how rapidly- synapse strength changes in response to new experience. Changes in the function of these molecules may also contribute to developmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. (#23415)

Links & Resources

More Programs With

 

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES
Subscribe to receive email notifications about featured videos.
(c)2019 Regents of the University of California. All right reserved. Terms and Conditions of Use.