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Natural Sciences Division Colloquium: Amber Petersen

By: Tracy Gartner

Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm CDT September 23, 2013

Location: Niemann Media Theatre, Hedberg Library

Regulation of Calmodulin, a Signaling Molecule Required for Neuronal Functioning

Amber Petersen ‘08
PhD Student at the Medical College of Wisconsin
Department of Cellular Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy
 
Neurons communicate with either other at specialized sites called synapses. The strength of communication at synapses (aka synaptic transmission) can be modulated in response to changes in synaptic Ca2+ levels.  This property of neurons is called synaptic plasticity and provides the cellular mechanism underlying learning and memory.  Calmodulin (CaM) is a Ca2+-binding protein that is a critical mediator of many Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways required for synaptic plasticity.  The levels of CaM are lower than that of its many target proteins, thus CaM availability is thought to be ratelimiting for its signaling.  Despite its importance for synaptic function, factors influencing its availability, such as diffusion and concentration of synaptic CaM have not been tested.  In this study, we have explored the mobility and concentration of CaM in synapses and the effect of a CaM-regulating protein, Neurogranin.
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Location: Niemann Media Theatre, Hedberg Library