Synapse biology

We use forefront proteomics technologies to quantify proteins and to measure their interactions in the synapse.

  • We establish novel modulatory interactions in protein networks. For instance, ligand-gated ion channels are studied to determine how receptor auxiliary proteins contribute to their function (Guus Smit). Understanding ‘nanomachines’ helps to comprehend synaptic function, plasticity and dysfunction in disease and enables to specifically target these.
  • We aim to dissect the proteomic architecture of synaptic engrams using fluorescence-activated synaptosome sorting and ultrasensitive mass-spectrometry (Priyanka Rao-Ruiz).
  • We are structuring synaptic organization by functionally annotating proteins and by building a synaptic ontology (SynGO).
  • Neuron-glia interactions are studied to understand the hitherto underestimated role of glial cells in regulating synaptic function and plasticity of the brain (Mark Verheijen).
  • For functional dissection of synaptic proteins we use high-content automated microscopy (link cellomics) involving gene over-expression and knockdown approaches in cultured neurons.