Humans can think, feel and act because synapses translate electrical signals into chemical ones and send them via a gap to the next nerve cell. The reception is partly dependent on neuroligins. In a lecture at the MDC on July 31, Nobel Prize winner Thomas Südhof (Stanford) will explain their role.
As a graduate student, Thomas Südhof described the release of hormones from neuroendocrine cells of the adrenal glands. During his post-doctoral time, he investigated the role of the LDL receptor in cholesterol metabolism, for which M. S. Brown and J. L. Goldstein were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1985. Later on, he focused on the study of the molecular machinery mediating neurotransmitter release and discovered key molecules on synapse formation. Südhof’s findings have not only provided a better understanding of the processes underlying synapse formation and communication, but has also advanced knowledge of mechanisms behind poorly understood diseases such as schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer´s disease. For his breakthroughs, Südhof was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with J. E. Rothman and R. W. Schekman.
Max Delbrück Communications Center
The role of synaptic cell-adhesion molecules in synaptic connectivity: The case of neuroligins
- Prof. Dr. Thomas Südhof (Stanford University School of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute)