Institutt for biomedisin

BBB seminar: Clive R. Bramham

Arc as a master regulator of synaptic plasticity: toward a molecular understanding of how the brain works


Clive R. Bramham
Department of Biomedicine and K.G. Jebsen Centre for Neuropsychiatric Disorders, University of Bergen 

Research in my lab in the Neuroscience Research Group focuses on the molecular control and cell biological organization of long-term synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain. Synaptic plasticity is essential for brain development and maturation, learning and memory, cognitive flexibility and adaptation. Synaptic plasticity is the means by which neural activity patterns (neuronal firing) maintain or change neural circuit properties. The study of synaptic plasticity is crucial to explaining how subcellular control systems impact brain function and dysfunction.

Our current efforts focus on Arc – a neuronal activity-dependent gene and pivotal regulator of synaptic plasticity. But what is Arc protein? How does it work? Recent work has provided surprising insights into the structural and biochemical properties of the Arc protein. Inside the neuron, Arc is a protein interaction hub and dynamic regulator of synaptic plasticity. In radical contrast, Arc protein can also self-assemble into retrovirus-like capsids that are released in extracellular vesicles and capable of intercellular transfer of RNA. Resolving this dichotomy is of major importance for understanding how neuronal activity shapes connectivity in neural networks.

Chairperson: Aurora Martinez, Department of Biomedicine