Digital Public Defence: Suleman Hussain
Cand.med Suleman Hussain at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis “Postsynaptic role of SNARE proteins in synaptic plasticity” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).
The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.
The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.
Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.
Digital Trial Lecture – time and place
- First opponent: Professor Michela Matteoli, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center - IRCCS
- Second opponent: Professor Nashaat Gerges, Medical College of Wisconsin
- Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Emeritus Ulrik Fredrik Malt, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo
Chair of the Defence
Associate Professor Knut Tomas Dalen, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo
Professor Svend Davanger, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo
One of the most fascinating properties of the brain is synaptic plasticity, which can be defined as the ability of synapses to change their structure and efficacy in response to increased or decreased signaling activity between nerve cells. Synaptic plasticity is believed to be the cellular basis of learning and memory. One of the main mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity is the trafficking of glutamate receptors in and out of synapses. These receptors are inserted into the plasma membrane by exocytosis of receptor-containing vesicles with the membrane. However, the composition of the postsynaptic fusion machinery and its association with glutamate receptors has been poorly understood.
In the presynaptic terminal, SNARE proteins mediate fusion of vesicles with the target membrane. Based on what we know of the presynaptic function of the SNARE proteins, these could be important candidates for the fusion of receptor-containing organelles with the postsynaptic plasma membrane as well. In this thesis, Hussain has demonstrated for the first time, by combining electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry, the presence and localization of SNARE proteins in the postsynaptic compartment. Furthermore, SNARE proteins were co-localized with glutamate receptors in the postsynaptic spines. Having clarified the association of SNARE proteins with glutamate receptors, Hussain next provided evidence in favour of SNARE-dependent exocytosis of these receptors. Several molecularly distinct SNARE complexes might coexist in the postsynaptic compartment to ensure differential trafficking of glutamate receptors. Moreover, Hussain has also shown that the concentrations of SNARE proteins are altered in some neuropsychiatric diseases, which may possibly be linked to the pathogenesis of these disorders.
Taken together, this knowledge will lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying normal synaptic function and synaptic plasticity during health and disease.
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