Tau-Induced Damage at Hippocampal Tripartite Synapses
Co-Principal InvestigatorsRussell Nicholls, PhD Columbia University
The cognitive and behavioral symptoms that characterize Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are thought to result from impaired communication between neurons in the brain at connections called synapses. Toxic forms of a protein called tau play a central role in AD and other neurodegenerative conditions, and recent data show that tau can interfere with synapses in multiple ways. These observations greatly underscore efforts to treat AD by blocking the pathological actions of tau. The goal of this project is to better understand how tau interferes with synaptic function so that we can develop effective strategies to block the impairments it causes.
A combination of high tech electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques will permit the exploration of changes occurring both pre- and post-synaptically, as well as at the level of astrocytes that surround synapses following the elevation of tau protein.