Molecular, Genetic, and Functional Analysis of Synaptic Transmission

Project: Research project

Project Details


Ordway 9514485 As the organ system responsible for controlling movements, sensing surroundings, and consciousness, the nervous system must be capable of rapid information processing and rapid transmission of that information throughout the organism. To meet these demands, the nervous system is composed of complex networks of cells which, like electrical networks in computers, use electricity for information processing and transmission. In order for the nervous system to function, individual nerve cells must convey electrical signals to other nerve cells in the network. This transmission occurs at specialized sites of contact between two nerve cells, called synapses and is generally mediated by a complex process where electrical information is converted into chemical information. The chemical signals are responsible for information transfer across the synapse. Understanding chemical synaptic transmission, and thus the mechanisms by which nerve cells can send and receive electrical signals, is essential to understanding the fundamental mechanisms of nervous system function. Using a simplified model system which functions similarly to more complex nervous systems, a better understanding of information processing can be gained. This simple model system is also amenable to a wide variety of molecular genetic approaches allowing even more powerful understanding of nervous system function. Dr. Ordway is using a simplified model system to investigate the function of a specific synaptic protein called NSF. Using the molecular approaches alluded to above, Dr. Ordway is investigating the function of NSF in chemical synaptic transmission when the function of NSF has been perturbed. The basic mechanisms of nervous tissues have been conserved during evolution and information from simpler systems will lead directly to a better understanding of the function of our own brain and nervous system.

Effective start/end date7/1/966/30/00


  • National Science Foundation: $345,000.00


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