Neural circuits consist of neurons connected by electrical or chemical synapses that carry out specific functions when activated. Because their nervous system is so accessible, zebrafish have become a model for studying how a neural circuit’s intended function can be understood by observing the fish’s behavior when the circuit is activated.
Alberto Pereda, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues have received a three-year, $3 million NIH grant to study the specific contributions of electrical synapses in different neuronal networks within transgenic zebrafish that the researchers will generate. The goal is to reveal the presence of electrical synapses in specific cell types and to discover how those synapses contribute to observable behaviors.The project could potentially lead to the first comprehensive map of the electrical connections in a complex vertebrate nervous system. This research strategy will help to gain insight into how electrical synapses function in mammalian nervous systems as well.
Dr. Pereda is professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. (1RF1MH120016-01A1)
Posted on: Thursday, October 01, 2020