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Identification and functional characterization of connexins in the developmental hippocampus

Grant number: 12/03583-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology
Principal Investigator:Alexandre Hiroaki Kihara
Grantee:Guilherme Shigueto Vilar Higa
Home Institution: Centro de Matemática, Computação e Cognição (CMCC). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):15/17044-6 - The role of neuronal gap junctions in the hippocampal spontaneous activity during development, BE.EP.DR


In the perinatal hippocampus, spontaneous activity patterns emerge in neurons in the maturation process. During this phase of the development, some cells show spontaneous activity characterized by increased calcium activity. This event generates electrical activity plateaus, coherent and recurrent between small groups of neurons (synchronous plateau assemblies, SPAs), which seems to be are gap junctions (GJ) dependent. GJ allow the passage of small molecules up to 1 kDa. GJ channels are made of protein subunits called connexin (Cxs). The spontaneous activity of hippocampal neurons is responsible for the proper conduct of neuronal connections in the local network. Using combined techniques such as real-time polymerase chain reaction (Real-Time PCR), immunohistochemistry and western blot, we propose to analyze the spatiotemporal expression of Cxs in different stages of hippocampal development. Using multi electrode array (MEA) technology, we propose to characterize the synchronization of local field electrophysiological activity during development of the hippocampus. With this project, we hope to identify the Cx types and their specific contribution to the SPA during the hippocampal development of rodents. This project will be developed in collaboration with doctors Thomas DeMarse (University of Florida) and Marcelo Reyes (UFABC). All equipment and reagents necessary for the realization of this project will be provided by FAPESP (Projeto Jovem Pesquisador, 2008/55210-1).