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Evolution of memory molecules in learning and long-term memory
Sweden (IFMSA-Sweden) - Uppsala Universtitet, Uppsala
Department of Neuroscience
Dan Larhammar and Adrian Garcia Concejo
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Learning and long-term memory (L&M) are complex phenomena and the relationships between specific memories and molecular events in neurons are still shrouded in mystery. Complex processes can be best understood by studying how they have evolved and gained complexity. Hence, we use and evolutionary approach to unravel L&M mechanisms, like we have previously investigated the evolution of colour vision. We focus on the large families of receptors that are involved in L&M, especially glutamate and GABA-A receptors, and serveras gene families that regulate these. Special focus is on the protein kinases involved in memory consolidation, primary Protein kinase C zeta type (PKMzeta.) Gene expression patterns are mapped in zebrafish brain and compared with rodents, particularly in the hippocampus. Promoters in the PKMzeta gene are investigated using a reporter system. L&M gene will be knocked out in zebrafish using (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)CRISPR and the consequences on spatial and social memory will be investigated.
What is the aim of the project?
The overall aim is to increase our understanding of the mechanisms of learning and long-term memory. This will be important for improving pedgogics and for reducing the consequences of memory-loss, especially in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
What techniques and methods are used?
Different techniques are used throughout the study included in Bioinformatics and molecular biology. The methods of the study also includes phylogenetic (evolutionary) analyses, quantitive polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to identify and quantify nucleic acids, in situ hybridisation (ISH) to localise specific nucleic sequences, functional expression, reporter gene analysis, cell culture and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR/Cas9) to knock out the L&M gene in zebrafish. Behavioural studies in zebrafish will also be used. Ongoing methods for the next few months are primarily ISH and functions expression.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will be conducting laboratorial experiments such as polymerase chains reaction (PCR) experiments, as well as other tasks such as pipetting with automatic pipettes. The students is also expected to participate in the retrieval of sequences from gene databases and take part in the sequence alignments that will be conducted. Supervision will be provided when conducting the labortorial experiments and as mentioned above, most of the work will be revolved around ISH and functions expression.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Reading of primary research literature given by the tutors. The student will participate at literature seminars and projects seminars relevant to the project, that will be conducted in english, by the tutors as well as other scientist. These will occur some time during the weeks the student are present.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Knowledge about cell biology, receptors and neurobiology.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Students in biomedical fields
- Evolution of vertebrate nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Pedersen JE; Bergqvist CA; Larhammar D. BMC Evol Biol. 2019;19(1):38. PMID:30700248.
- Evolution of vertebrate rod and cone phototransduction genes. Larhammar D1; Nordström K; Larsson TA. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009;364(1531):2867-80. PMID:19720650
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