Robert Kittel

Universität Würzburg

Synaptic Vesicle Tethering to the Drosophila Active Zone Cytomatrix

12:00 pm, Wednesday 12 October 2016

Location: The Sherrington Library; Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics; Sherrington Building

Abstract: Bruchpilot (Brp) is a core protein component of the Drosophila active zone (AZ), where it promotes calcium channel clustering to ensure adequate transmitter release. In addition, the C-terminal region of Brp tethers synaptic vesicles to the AZ cytomatrix. In a C-terminally truncated allele, brpnude (lacking the last 17 amino acids), impaired vesicle tethering is accompanied by short-term synaptic depression and impaired sustained transmitter release. We set out to test the hypothesis that neuronal expression of a C-terminal Brp fragment would mimic the synaptic phenotype of brpnude mutants by competitively binding the putative vesicular interaction partner(s) of Brp. Our electrophysiological analysis of larval neuromuscular synapses supports this hypothesis and sets the basis for a subsequent in vivo screen to identify the interacting protein(s). To this end, a membrane-bound C-terminal Brp fragment was neuronally expressed to misdirect synaptic vesicles to ectopic locations. RNAi lines against vesicle-associated proteins were then scored for their ability to revert the ectopic vesicle localisation.

Biography: Robert J. Kittel studied neurosciences as an undergraduate at the University of Glasgow and received a PhD from the Universität Göttingen in 2006, supervised by Stephan Sigrist. Following postdoctoral research at the universities of Leipzig and Würzburg, he started his independent career as an Emmy Noether Group leader at the University of Würzburg in 2009.