RUB » Department of Cell Morphology & Molecular Neurobiology » Research » Neuron-Glia Interaction

Neuron-Glia Interaction

The last decades have shown that radial glia and astrocytes play important roles in the regulation of development, plasticity and regeneration of the CNS. For example, early astrocytes construct complex temporary scaffolds that guide migrating neurons and growth cones. Astrocytes are important functional elements of the tripartite synapse and intervene in synaptic structure and activity. On the other hand, glial cordons segregate neuronal assemblies and interfere with axonal regeneration in glial scars. The laboratory has established a research line that characterizes glia-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules with regard to their roles in axon growth and guidance, and in the realm of inhibition of regeneration and the glial scar. This work resulted in the identification of repulsive and stimulatory domains in the ECM glycoprotein tenascin-C, and in the definition of the neurite outgrowth promoting DSD-1-carbohydrate epitope. Currently, the laboratory focuses on complementary peptide domains in ECM components and their receptors. Recently, the team has developed an interest in perineuronal nets (PNNs) that represent specialized and condensed ECM superstructures on the surface of neurons. Current research aims at elucidating the roles of PNNs for synaptic function and plasticity. To this end, an in vitro system to monitor synapse formation has been established and is analyzed using amongst others multi-electrode arrays (MEAs).

Past and current funding: DFG (SPP 1048, SPP 1172)


Christine Gottschling

MSc. Christine Gottschling
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David Wegrzyn

MSc. David Wegrzyn