Monday, March 3, 11:00am – 12:30pm, 2014 in 489 Minor Hall

A Reassessment of Hebbian Mechanisms in Visual System Development by in vivo Imaging

presented by

Edward S. Ruthazer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

 

In 1949 Donald Hebb put forth an influential model proposing that learning may be manifested by a growth process between neuronal partners in the brain that exhibited correlated firing such that the presynaptic cell had participated in causing its postsynaptic partner to fire. The NMDA receptor has been identified as a molecular detector of correlated firing due to its voltage-dependence. Developmental refinement of neuronal circuits is also thought to exploit similar correlation-dependent mechanisms. Consistent with this idea, numerous studies have shown that NMDA receptor blockade or genetic knockout disrupts normal developmental plasticity and circuit refinement. Using a combination of targeted genetic manipulation, and time lapse imaging of axonal remodeling in response to patterned visual stimuli in vivo, we explore the contributions of correlated firing and NMDA receptors in the Xenopus retinotectal system, a classic experimental model for the study of activity-dependent visual system refinement.

Host: Marla Feller

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