Biochemical computation in dendritic spines

Ryohei Yasuda

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience


Activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength are believed to be cellular basis of learning and memory. Cascades of biochemical reaction in dendritic spines, tiny postsynaptic compartments emanating from dendritic surface, underlie diverse forms of synaptic plasticity. The reaction in dendritic spines is mediated via signaling networks consist of hundreds of species of proteins. We have developed unique optical techniques to elucidate the operation principles of such signaling networks. First, based on 2-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging techniques, we have developed highly sensitive biosensors reporting signaling activity in single dendritic spines. In addition, we have developed an optogenetic inhibitor for protein kinase signaling. By monitoring and manipulating signaling components with high spatiotemporal resolution, we expect to reveal the mechanisms underlying the spatiotemporal regulation of signaling dynamics underlying synaptic plasticity and learning and memory.



Related papers:

Colgan, L.A. & Yasuda, R. Plasticity of dendritic spines: subcompartmentalization of signaling. Annu Rev Physiol 76, 365-85 (2014).Link


Zhai, S., Ark, E.D., Parra-Bueno, P. & Yasuda, R. Long-distance integration of nuclear ERK signaling triggered by activation of a few dendritic spines. Science 342, 1107-11 (2013). Link  

Murakoshi, H. & Yasuda, R. Postsynaptic signaling during plasticity of dendritic spines. Trends Neurosci 35, 135-43 (2012).Link  

Murakoshi, H., Wang, H. & Yasuda, R. Local, persistent activation of Rho GTPases during plasticity of single dendritic spines. Nature 472, 100-4 (2011).Link