Neurobiology Virtual Seminar

May 19, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD

Duke professor Nicole Calakos presents "Shining a SPOTlight on the significance of eIF2alpha translational regulation for synaptic plasticity in health and disease" on Zoom. Email ladonna.huseman@duke.edu for connection details.
Abstract: Our lab is fundamentally interested in how experience changes the brain to allow for adaptive behavior, and what to do when this powerful feature is corrupted in the setting of human disease. New protein synthesis is required for many forms of synaptic plasticity; and its disruption has been associated with human diseases such as autism disorders. Recent work by our group connected the movement disorder, dystonia to one particular form of translational regulation that occurs through phosphorylation of the initiation factor, eIF2alpha (Rittiner, Caffall et al., 2016). To better understand when and where eIF2alpha translational regulation occurs in the brain, we created a viral reporter, SPOTlight, that translates green or red fluorophores depending upon the phosphorylation state of eIF2alpha. Using SPOTlight, we discovered that striatal cholinergic interneurons use the eIF2alpha pathway in unconventional ways to influence dopamine neuromodulation and behavior.