Structural underpinnings of ionotropic glutamate receptor activation

Dr. Derek Bowie

Who: Dr. Derek Bowie, Full Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

When: Dec 11 2019, 11:30am – Joins us at 11:15am to meet the speaker and to have a coffee

Where: D’Iorio Hall 214


The Bowie Lab uses a combination of techniques to study ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), GABA-A receptors and more recently, Na+ channels. All ion-channel families are widespread in the vertebrate brain and fulfill many important roles in healthy individuals as well as being implicated in disease states associated with postnatal development (e.g. autism, schizophrenia), cerebral insult (e.g. stroke, epilepsy) and aging disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism). We are looking at iGluRs, GABA-A receptors and Na+ channels at two inter-related levels. In molecular terms, we are examining the events that occur when each ion-channel family is activated with the aim of developing novel therapeutic compounds. At the cellular level, we are studying the role that iGluRs, GABA-A receptors and Na+ channels fulfill in shaping the behaviour of neuronal circuits and how these processes may be corrected in disease states. The talk will focus on recent findings showing how the apo state of AMPA-type iGluRs is regulated by alternative splicing of the flip/flop cassette and by auxiliary proteins. The findings have a broad implication for how other signaling proteins work as well as providing new insight into how different AMPARs signal in the brain.

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