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Professor Kei Cho

Synaptic Plasticity and Alzheimer's Disease

Research in Cho group focuses on a wide range of projects from molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the brain to pathological aspects of the central nervous system (CNS) including Alzheimer's disease. This is achieved through electrophysiological recordings, calcium imaging, molecular biology, cell culture, gene transfection, immunocytochemical techniques and MRI-brain imaging.


The plastic nature of synapses means that long-term potentiation (LTP, a prolonged increase in synaptic transmission) and long-term depression (LTD, a long-lasting depression of synaptic transmission) can be induced.

Using brain slice electrophysiology and calcium imaging techniques, our findings from the hippocampus and perirhinal cortex have suggested a new form of LTD in which G-protein coupled metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) have an important role. These findings have led to a greater understanding of mechanisms that regulate mGluRs and the ways in which mGluRs interact with other receptors. Our group is also investigating the molecular roles of postsynaptic calcium sensors and caspase-cascades in hippocampal and perirhinal LTP.

Research keywords

  • beta-amyloid
  • excitatory synapse
  • long-term synaptic plasticity
  • calcium-sensor
  • brain atrophy
  • stress
  • jet-lag
  • stem-cell

Diseases related to this field of research

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid-beta toxicity
  • Stress
  • Neurodegeneration

Processes and functions relevant to this work

  • Synaptic Plasticity
  • Recogntion Memory
  • Stem-cell differentiation

Research findings

  • Roles of Beta-Amyloid in synaptic dysfunction.
  • Tau and synapse weakening pathways.
  • Roles of postsynaptic calcium sensors and caspase-cascades in long-term synaptic plasticity.
  • Stress-related hormones in excitatory synaptic transmission.
  • Aging and stress-related decline of recognition memory.

Collaborations

  • Prof Eunjoon Kim (IBS-KAIST - Korea)
  • Prof Graham Collingridge (MRC Centre - Bristol)
  • Prof Stafford Lightman (Henry Wellcome LINE - Bristol)
  • Prof Morgan Sheng (Genentech - USA)
  • Prof Peter St George-Hyslop (Cambridge)
  • Prof. David Klenerman (Cambridge)
  • Dr. Lisa Saksida (Cambridge)