Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary
Invited by Valentin Nägerl (IINS) and Jérôme Badaut
Metabotropic NMDA receptors and pannexin-1 in neuronal pathology and plasticity
Recent advances in understanding NMDA receptor signalling have revealed that these prototypical ionotropic receptors can initiate signalling independently of their ion conductance. This ‘metabotropic’ (also called non-ionotropic) function has roles in plasticity and pathology. Our group has identified that a metabotropic NMDAR pathway involving Src kinase and activation of pannexin-1 (Panx1) channels is activated during stroke, which causes neuronal death. In this seminar I will provide an overview of this pathway and its role in stroke. I will then discuss how metabotropic NMDARs / Panx1 are involved in synaptic plasticity. Briefly, Panx1 regulates extracellular levels of anandamide (AEA) and controls presynaptic TRPV1. Structural insights into how Panx1 transports AEA suggests this channel is a long-sought endocannabinoid membrane transporter.
About the speaker
Dr. Thompson is a Professor at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on pannexin-1 biology as it relates to stroke, cognitive decline and physiological brain functions. He has Bachelors (Queen’s University), PhD (McMaster University) and postdoctoral (University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, University of British Columbia) experience and has been researching brain pathologies for over 20 years. His active research program focuses on identifying new molecular pathways and designing custom molecules to protect brain cells during disease.