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How are memories formed and stored in the human brain? This is the overarching question that leads MARINA MIKHAYLOVA’s research. As she explains, there are two important features of memory formation: plasticity and stability of dendritic spines, small protrusions where synapses are formed. Activity-dependent remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton in dendritic spines is essential for synaptic plasticity. This process is triggered by a signal sent from the connected neuron, which results in a calcium influx into the spine. The specific question presented in this video is how initial calcium influx into dendritic spines is connected to actin reorganization. To answer this question the researchers proposed that synapses would need to sense the calcium concentrations. They found that neuronal calcium binding protein caldendrin and filamentous actin-binding protein cortactin are orchestrating direct translation of the initial calcium influx into coordinated rearrangement of spinous actin filaments at the nanoscale in dendritic spines. This novel mechanism could be essential in understanding the pathology of certain synaptic diseases, such as schizophrenia.


Marina Mikhaylova is Independent Research Group Leader of the Emmy-Noether Group ‘Neuronal Protein Transport’ at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg, an institute of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Previously, she was Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at Utrecht University. Currently, she is interested in neuronal communication and the storage of information in the brain. She is Editorial Board member of Scientific Reports and Review Editor of Molecular Neuroscience and Frontiers in Neuropharmacology. Since 2016 she has been a member of AcademiaNet, nominated by the German Research Foundation.


University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

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Original publication

Caldendrin Directly Couples Postsynaptic Calcium Signals to Actin Remodeling in Dendritic Spines

others, Mikhaylova Marina, Bär Julia, van Bommel Bas, Schätzle Philipp, YuanXiang PingAn, Raman Rajeev, Hradsky Johannes, Konietzny Anja, Loktionov Egor Y. and Reddy Pasham Parameshwar
Published in 2018