Ca2+ signals:
Molecular Mechanisms and Integrative Functions Collaborative Research Center 894

Project A12 - Frank Kirchhoff

Neurotransmitter receptors and Ca2+ signals in cerebellar Bergmann glia

The cerebellum, one of the main CNS regions, controls body movements with high temporal precision. In an unique three-dimensional organization neurons, interneurons and glial cells form a highly integrative network. Equipped with numerous transmitter and peptide receptors, Bergmann glia (BG) detect and regulate synaptic transmission at the parallel fiber-Purkinje cell (PF-PC) synapse. During the last funding period we could uncover the particular role of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors on BG for fine motor coordination. We also obtained first indications for the functional role of the purinergic receptor P2Y1 in the cerebellar circuit organization.

For the upcoming funding period, we will proceed in our efforts to detect and characterize further molecular and cellular pathways of glutamatergic and purinergic signaling in neuron-glia interaction and their impact for the living organism. For that purpose, we will employ a combination of inducible and glia-specific receptor gene knock-out mouse models with in vivo Ca2+ imaging, pharmacological interventions, electrophysiology, electron microscopy, gene expression profiling and behavior studies.