Ramón A. Jorquera, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Neuroscience Department
Institution
Central University of the Caribbean
Address
2U6 Ave. Laurel, Lomas verdes
City, Zip
Bayamon, 956
Country
Puerto Rico
Phone
787-798-3001, Ext. 2166
E-mail
ramon.jorquera[at]uccaribe.edu
Research Field
Computational Biology; neuroscience
Award Year
2009
Country Of Origin
Chile
Mentor Name
J. Troy Littleton, M.D., Ph.D.

Research

Neurotransmitter release is a specialized form of vesicle fusion that shares a common SNARE-mediated fusion mechanism with other vesicle trafficking pathways within cells. With the appearance of multicellular organisms and just before of the formation of the primitive nervous system, two principal families of SNARE complex-binding proteins emerged, synaptotagmins and complexins. Current data suggest that SNARE binding by the two proteins allows Synaptotagmin 1 to promote fusion in a calcium dependent manner, while complexin prevents premature fusion in the absence of calcium influx. However, their precise roles in regulated secretion and effects on short-term synaptic plasticity are poorly understood. My research is focused on a thorough analysis of synaptic transmission at NMJs of mutant and overexpression animals using high fidelity current recordings of postsynaptic evoked and spontaneous currents using voltage-clamp at the Drosophila NMJ. We are combining quantal analysis with immunocytochemical determination of the number of release sites, allowing a robust description of release properties regulated by complexin and synaptotagmin.