Hello, my name is Jonathan Hanley.
I'm a senior lecturer in the
Department of Biochemistry
at the University of Bristol, and
my research focuses on neuronal cell
biology, in particular molecular
mechanisms that underlie changes
in synaptic strength, otherwise
known as synaptic plasticity,
which are thought to
underlie learning and memory
and are also proposed to
be involved in a number
of neurological diseases.
In this presentation, I will try
to give an overview of a number
of proteins whose major role
is to organize synapses,
or the so-called scaffold proteins.
As the name suggests,
a scaffold protein
provide structure to the
synapse and also acts
as a platform to bring numerous
specific protein components close
together to enhance signaling,
trafficking, or other cell
biological events that are crucial
for the function of the synapse.
I will start off by introducing
some basic concepts about synapses,
their plasticity, their
Since the title of this presentation
covers a very broad topic,
I will not be able to discuss
all aspects in great detail,
so I will focus on
and beyond that I will
focus mainly on three
multi-domain scaffold proteins
called GRIP, PSD-95, and SHANK.
I will describe their
normal synaptic function,
and finally, discuss their role
in some important neurological
disorders, or ASD, schizophrenia.
and brain ischemia.
The brain is the center
of the nervous system
and almost certainly the most
complex structure in biology.
All aspects of cognition
originate in the brain.
memories, ideas, and dreams.
The brain also provides
us with the ability
to see, hear, taste,
smell, touch, and move.
It allows us to form words,
understand mathematics, communicate
with others, make decisions,
compose, and appreciate art.
The human brain consists of more
than 100 billion neurons, which
process and transmits information
in the form of electrical signals.
Communication between neurons
occurs at specialized junctions
All of the normal faculties
I mentioned in the last slide
are the product of circuits made
up of multiple synaptic connections
that can be formed, strengthened,
weakened, or eliminated.