CRC 870

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Structural synaptic changes and their role in experience-dependent plasticity

Principal Investigators:

Formation and elimination of spine synapses is a hallmark of plasticity in cortical circuits but the functional consequences of these changes are largely unknown. We will characterize the signals carried by newly formed or eliminated spines by measuring their activation during paradigms of neuronal plasticity in brain slices and in the intact brain. We will co-express genetically encoded Ca2+ sensors and structural indicators in sparse subsets of neurons and ask (i) if new spines contribute to strengthening of synaptic connections during LTP in vitro and (ii) if spine turnover drives the plasticity of eye-specific responses during monocular deprivation in vivo.