Mark Dell'Acqua, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, USA
Regulation of postsynaptic structural plasticity by L-type Ca2+-channel-mediated remodeling of the dendritic spine ER
From my graduate training on G protein-coupled receptors with Ernest Peralta at Harvard University and postdoctoral training on kinase/phosphatase signaling with John Scott at the Vollum Institute, I have broad expertise studying second messenger and phosphorylation signaling. Over the last 22 years, my laboratory at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus helped establish the importance of A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP) 79/150 anchoring of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and the Ca2+-dependent protein phosphatase 2B-calcineurin (CaN) in regulating neuronal L-type voltage gated Ca2+ channels, AMPA and NMDA glutamate receptors, and GABAA receptors during LTD and LTP synaptic plasticity. We are investigating these processes during normal plasticity as well as in brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral ischemia, Down syndrome, and autism. We employ a range of experimental methods from quantitative fluorescence imaging to electrophysiology to behavioral analyses. In particular, my laboratory has expertise using electrophysiology, optical manipulation, and advanced fluorescence imaging methods to study glutamate receptors, L-type Ca2+ channels, GABAA receptors, NFAT-dependent transcriptional signaling, membrane trafficking, and dendritic spine structure during synaptic plasticity.