20-23 september 2017. Pécs - Hungary
Synaptic cytoskeletal dysfunction: a common mechanism in developmental neuropathies (Bence Rácz & Marco Rust)
Synaptic cytoskeletal dysfunction: a common mechanism in developmental neuropathies (Bence Rácz & Marco Rust) 2017-09-23 - 10:00-12:00
Venue: Conference Room 103
This symposium will provide novel insights into the mechanisms that control actin dynamics during dendritic spine development and in synaptic plasticity and how dysregulation of such mechanisms contribute to the etiology and pathology of human developmental neuropathies such as fragile X syndrome, schizophrenia-related disorders or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


Marco B. Rust (Chair)
University of Marburg, Germany

Bence L. Rácz (Co-Chair)
University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest


10:00 – 10:30 Pirta Hotulainen
Minerva Institute for Medical Research, Helsinki, Finland
"Novel mechanisms in dendritic spine actin regulation"

10:30 – 11:00 Marta Zagrebelsky
Technical University of Braunschweig Zoological institute
Department for cellular Neuroscience
"Mechanisms of Nogo-A actions in regulating functional and structural synaptic plasticity: role of the actin cytoskeleton"

11:00 – 11:30  Marco B. Rust (Chair)
University of Marburg, Germany
"Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-like alterations in a mouse model with disturbed actin dynamics"

11:30 – 12:00  Scott H. Soderling
Duke University, USA
"The spine cytoskeleton branches out: synapse unsilencing and schizophrenia-related disorders"



Actin filaments (F-actin) are essential regulators of excitatory synapses at both presynaptic terminals and dendritic spines. Actin dynamics, the fast assembly and disassembly of F-actin, is crucial not only for synaptic structure, but also for physiology, governing central aspects of neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, and behavior. Indeed, recent studies i) unraveled the functions for various actin regulators that mediate synaptic cytoskeletal remodeling, ii) strongly implicated defective actin dynamics in the pathologies of fragile X syndrome, autism, schizophrenia or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, iii) associated specific actin regulators with such developmental neuropathies, and iv) identified cytoskeletal therapeutic targets to rescue cellular or behavioral defects. We therefore feel that it is timely to propose a symposium “Synaptic cytoskeletal dysfunction: a common mechanism in developmental neuropathies” in order to highlight the important and substantial progress in the field made in recent years.
The proposed symposium will cover a wide range of cutting-edge methods, from mouse genetics, optogenetics, physiological and behavioral analyses, to modern imaging techniques for synapses and circuits. To provide adequate in-depth information, and to promote the discussions, the symposium will start with a brief general introduction by Bence Racz followed by four presentations that tackle specific aspects of synaptic actin dynamics in relation to brain disorders. Pirta Hotulainen and Marta Zagrebelsky will introduce how novel actin regulation mechanisms control neuronal maturation and synaptic plasticity. Marco Rust will provide evidences from gene-targeted mice that consolidate a crucial role of actin dysfunction in the etiology of developmental neuropathies. The last talk of the symposium will highlight novel insights in synaptic cytoskeletal mechanisms in health and disease as Scott Soderling will introduce novel functions of actin dynamics during synapse unsilencing and in relation to schizophrenia-related disorder.
In summary, our symposium is tailored to illustrate the research progress on the physiology and pathophysiology of synaptic actin dynamics on different levels, from molecular mechanisms to physiological processes, circuit abnormalities, and behavior. We are confident that the thematic content and the broad methodological repertoire presented in the symposium will be attractive not only for researchers working on the neuronal cytoskeleton, synaptic physiology or developmental neuropathies, but will also have strong appeal to neuroscientists from related fields and the broad FENS audience. The selected speakers are recognized experts of neuronal cytoskeletal dynamics and will thus assure the high quality of the symposium.


The Project is supported by the European Union and co-financed by the European Social Fund (grant agreement no.: EFOP-3.6.2-16-2017-00008).