Recommended Readings: Gulcin Pekkurnaz, Ph.D., September 21

Special Lecture
Monday, September 21, 2015
4:00 p.m., Carson Family Auditorium (CRC)

Gulcin Pekkurnaz, Ph.D.,
Postdoctoral Fellow,
Department of Neurobiology,
Harvard Medical School
Boston Children’s Hospital

Metabolic Regulation of Mitochondrial Function in the Nervous System

Recommended Readings

Empirical Articles

Pekkurnaz, G., Trinidad, J. C., Wang, X., Kong, D., & Schwarz, T. L. (2014). Glucose regulates mitochondrial motility via Milton modification by O-GlcNAc transferase. Cell, 158(1), 54-68. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.06.007

Teodoro, R. O., Pekkurnaz, G., Nasser, A., Higashi‐Kovtun, M. E., Balakireva, M., McLachlan, I. G., … & Schwarz, T. L. (2013). Ral mediates activity‐dependent growth of postsynaptic membranes via recruitment of the exocyst. The EMBO Journal, 32(14), 2039-2055. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2013.147

Review Papers

Schwarz, T. L. (2013). Mitochondrial trafficking in neurons. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 5(6), a011304. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a011304

Recommended Readings: Nicolas Tritsch, Ph.D., January 28

Special Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
4:00 p.m., Carson Family Auditorium (CRC)

Nicolas Tritsch, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow,
Department of Neurobiology,
Harvard Medical School

Lost in Translation – What do Dopamine Neurons Tell the Brain?

Recommended Readings

Empirical Articles

Straub, C., Tritsch, N. X., Hagan, N. A., Gu, C., & Sabatini, B. L. (2014). Multiphasic modulation of cholinergic interneurons by nigrostriatal afferents. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(25), 8557–8569. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0589-14.2014

Tritsch, N., Oh, W., Gu, C., & Sabatini, B. (2014). Midbrain dopamine neurons sustain inhibitory transmission using plasma membrane uptake of GABA, not synthesis. eLife. doi:10.7554/eLife.01936

Tritsch, N. X., Ding, J. B., & Sabatini, B. L. (2012). Dopaminergic neurons inhibit striatal output through non-canonical release of GABA. Nature, 490(7419), 262–266. doi:10.1038/nature11466

Review Papers

Tritsch, N. X., & Sabatini, B. L. (2012). Dopaminergic modulation of synaptic transmission in cortex and striatum. Neuron, 76(1), 33–50. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.023

Recommended Readings: Ali H. Brivanlou, Ph.D. November 24

Monday Lecture Series
Monday, November 24, 2014
4:00 p.m., Carson Family Auditorium

Ali H. Brivanlou, Ph.D.
Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor and Head,
Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Embryology,
The Rockefeller University

Dynamic Patterns: Self-Organization of Human Embryonic Cells

Recommended Readings

Empirical Articles

Arduini, B., & Brivanlou, A. (2012). Modulation of FOXD3 activity in human embryonic stem cells directs pluripotency and paraxial mesoderm fates. Stem Cells, 30(10), 2188–2198. doi:10.1002/stem.2012

Ozair, M., Noggle, S., & Warmflash, A. (2013). SMAD7 directly converts human embryonic stem cells to telencephalic fate by a default mechanism. Stem Cells, 31(1), 35–47. doi:10.1002/stem.1246.SMAD7

Rosa, A., Papaioannou, M. D., Krzyspiak, J. E., & Brivanlou, A. H. (2014). miR-373 is regulated by TGFβ signaling and promotes mesendoderm differentiation in human embryonic stem cells. Developmental Biology, 391(1), 81–88. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.03.020

Warmflash, A., Sorre, B., Etoc, F., Siggia, E. D., & Brivanlou, A. H. (2014). A method to recapitulate early embryonic spatial patterning in human embryonic stem cells. Nature Methods, 11(8). doi:10.1038/nmeth.3016

Review Article

Muñoz-Sanjuán, I., & Brivanlou, A. H. (2002). Neural induction, the default model, and embryonic stem cells. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3(4), 271–280. doi:10.1038/nrn786

Recommended Readings: Shai Shaham, Ph.D. November 10

Monday Lecture Series
Monday, November 10, 2014,
4:00 p.m., Carson Family Auditorium (CRC)

Shai Shaham, Ph.D.
Professor and Head,
Laboratory of Developmental Genetics,
The Rockefeller University

Glial Control of Neuronal Receptive Ending Form and Function

Recommended Readings

Empirical Papers

Bacaj, T., Tevlin, M., Lu, Y., & Shaham, S. (2008). Glia are essential for sensory organ function in C. elegans. Science, 322(5902), 744–747. doi:10.1126/science.1163074

Heiman, M. G., & Shaham, S. (2009). DEX-1 and DYF-7 establish sensory dendrite length by anchoring dendritic tips during cell migration. Cell, 137(2), 344–355. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.01.057

Procko, C., Lu, Y., & Shaham, S. (2011). Glia delimit shape changes of sensory neuron receptive endings in C. elegans. Development, 138(7), 1371–1381. doi:10.1242/dev.058305

Yoshimura, S., Murray, J. I., Lu, Y., Waterston, R. H., & Shaham, S. (2008). mls-2 and vab-3 Control glia development, hlh-17/Olig expression and glia-dependent neurite extension in C. elegans. Development, 135(13), 2263–2275. doi:10.1242/dev.019547

Review Papers

Oikonomou, G., & Shaham, S. (2011). The glia of Caenorhabditis elegans. Glia, 59(9), 1253–1263. doi:10.1002/glia.21084

Procko, C., & Shaham, S. (2010). Assisted morphogenesis: glial control of dendrite shapes. Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 22(5), 560–565. doi:10.1016/

Recommended Readings: James Rothman, Ph.D. November 7

Friday Lecture Series
Friday, November 7, 2014
3:45 p.m., Caspary Auditorium

James Rothman, Ph.D.
Fergus F. Wallace Professor Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry,
Professor and Chair,
Department of Cell Biology,
Professor of Chemistry,
Yale School of Medicine

The Regulation of Neurotransmitter Release

Recommended Readings

Empirical Articles

McNew, J. A., Parlati, F., Fukuda, R., Johnston, R. J., Paz, K., Paumet, F., … Rothman, J. E. (2000). Compartmental specificity of cellular membrane fusion encoded in SNARE proteins. Nature, 407(6801), 153–159. doi:10.1038/35025000

Söllner, T., Whiteheart, S. W., Brunner, M., Erdjument-Bromage, H., Geromanos, S., Tempst, P., & Rothman, J. E. (1993). SNAP receptors implicated in vesicle targeting and fusion. Nature, 362(6418), 318–324. doi:10.1038/362318a0

Weber, T., Zemelman, B. V, McNew, J. a, Westermann, B., Gmachl, M., Parlati, F., … Rothman, J. E. (1998). SNAREpins: Minimal Machinery for Membrane Fusion. Cell, 92(6), 759–772. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81404-X

Wilson, D. W., Wilcox, C. A., Flynn, G. C., Chen, E., Kuang, W. J., Henzel, W. J., … Rothman, J. E. (1989). A fusion protein required for vesicle-mediated transport in both mammalian cells and yeast. Nature, 339(6223), 355–359. doi:10.1038/339355a0

Review Papers

Rothman, J. E. (2014). The principle of membrane fusion in the cell (Nobel lecture). Angewandte Chemie, 2–21. doi:10.1002/anie.201402380

Südhof, T. C., & Rothman, J. E. (2009). Membrane fusion: grappling with SNARE and SM proteins. Science, 323(5913), 474–477. doi:10.1126/science.1161748

Recommended Readings: Susan Lindquist, Ph.D. October 17

Friday Lecture Series
Friday, October 17, 2014
3:45 p.m., Caspary Auditorium

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology,
Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

From Yeast to Patient Neurons and Back Again: Powerful Discovery Platforms Combatting Neurodegenerative Disease

Recommended Readings

Empirical Articles

Chung, C. Y., Khurana, V., Auluck, P. K., Tardiff, D. F., Mazzulli, J. R., Soldner, F., … Lindquist, S. (2013). Identification and rescue of α-synuclein toxicity in Parkinson patient-derived neurons. Science, 342(6161), 983–987. doi:10.1126/science.1245296

Tardiff, D. F., Jui, N. T., Khurana, V., Tambe, M. A, Thompson, M. L., Chung, C. Y., … Lindquist, S. (2013). Yeast reveal a “druggable” Rsp5/Nedd4 network that ameliorates α-synuclein toxicity in neurons. Science, 342(6161), 979–983. doi:10.1126/science.1245321

Treusch, S., Hamamichi, S., Goodman, J. L., Matlack, K. E. S., Chung, C. Y., Baru, V., … Lindquist, S. (2011). Functional links between Aβ toxicity, endocytic trafficking, and Alzheimer’s disease risk factors in yeast. Science, 334(6060), 1241–1245. doi:10.1126/science.1213210

Review Papers

Khurana, V., & Lindquist, S. (2010). Modelling neurodegeneration in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: why cook with baker’s yeast? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(6), 436–449. doi:10.1038/nrn2809

Tardiff, D. F., Khurana, V., Chung, C. Y., & Lindquist, S. (2014). From yeast to patient neurons and back again: A powerful new discovery platform. Movement Disorders, 29(10), 1231–1240. doi:10.1002/mds.25989

Recommended Readings: David Ginty, Ph.D.

Friday Lecture Series

The Sensory Neurons of Touch

David Ginty, Ph.D., Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor,

department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School;

investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

April 4, 2014

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Readings

Abraira, V., & Ginty, D. (2013). The sensory neurons of touch. Neuron, 79(4), 618-639

Deppmann, C. D., Mihalas, S., Sharma, N., Lonze, B. E., Niebur, E., & Ginty, D. D. (2008). A model for neuronal competition during development. Science, 320(5874), 369-373

Li, L., Rutlin, M., Abraira, V. E., Cassidy, C., Kus, L., Gong, S., . . . Ginty, D. D. (2011). The functional organization of cutaneous low-threshold mechanosensory neurons. Cell, 147(7), 1615-1627

Luo, W., Wickramasinghe, S. R., Savitt, J. M., Griffin, J. W., Dawson, T. M., & Ginty, D. D. (2007). A hierarchical NGF signaling cascade controls ret-dependent and ret-independent events during development of nonpeptidergic DRG neurons. Neuron, 54(5), 739-754

Riccio, A., Alvania, R. S., Lonze, B. E., Ramanan, N., Kim, T., Huang, Y., . . . Ginty, D. D. (2006). A nitric oxide signaling pathway controls CREB-mediated gene expression in neurons. Molecular Cell, 21(2), 283-294

Wickramasinghe, S. R., Alvania, R. S., Ramanan, N., Wood, J. N., Mandai, K., & Ginty, D. D. (2008). Serum response factor mediates NGF-dependent target innervation by embryonic DRG sensory neurons. Neuron, 58(4), 532-545


The succinate receptor GPR91 in neurons plays major role in retinal angiogenesis: Findings provide a new therapeutic target for modulating revascularization

In the advance online edition of Nature Medicine investigators show that the accumulation of succinate in the hypoxic retina of rodents is a potent mediator of vessel growth via GPR91.  Effects of the receptor are mediated by retinal ganglion neurons which, in response to higher succinate levels, regulate a number of angiogenic factors including VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor).  The observations show a pathway of signaling were succinate, acting through GPR91, governs retinal angiogenesis.

Scientists from Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, the Université de Montréal and the Institut national de la santé et de la rechercher médicale(INSERM) in France report provide results that imply biological functions for succinate beyond energy production.  Of therapeutic importance is that these findings have implications for halting blinding diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity in infants, diabetic retinopathy in adults or age-related macular degeneration in seniors.   There are also implications related to stopping tumor growth by interfering with the GPR91 receptor and preserving neurons after trauma by activating the GPR91 receptor to help salvage neurons in damaged brain tissue following stroke or head injuries.

The reported studies took place in animals, however GPR91 is also found in humans.  An October 7, 2008 Science Daily article reports that the research could be extended to human clinical investigations in three to four years.