Professor Jeremy Henley Anatomy Department – Neuroscience at Bristol

  • Steering Committee

Cellular Trafficking of Neurotransmitter Receptors during Synaptic Plasticity in the CNS

Team Lead

About Professor Jeremy Henley

Understanding the processes that dictate the distribution, maintenance and dynamics of neurotransmitter receptors is of fundamental importance to the molecular basis of fast excitatory transmission and synaptic plasticity - functions of the brain that, when disrupted, are implicated in disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer´s disease.

AMPA receptors are one of the family of neurotransmitter receptors that bind to glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS.

The response of a neuron to glutamate depends critically on the organised localisation of receptors in the post-synaptic membrane. Until recently it was thought that AMPA receptors in the post-synaptic membrane had a relatively slow turnover of hours to days. However, we have shown that certain AMPA receptors undergo cycles of removal and reinsertion that takes place on a timescale of minutes. We have shown that this cycling depends on the synaptic protein NSF.

Our work focuses on identifying and defining the importance of protein interactions that take place at AMPA, kainate, metabotropic and GABAB receptors.

Analysing such interactions involves biochemistry and molecular biology. Techniques include the extensive use of protein biochemistry, anti-peptide antibodies, general molecular biology and we have been very successful in utilising the technique of yeast two-hybrid analysis.

In addition, we are making increasing use of green fluorescent protein (GFP) technology and viral transfection techniques. These new approaches are allowing us to visualise the dynamics of receptor movement in living neurons in real time.

Please see also:

5 Selected Publications

Guo C, Hildick KL, Luo J, Dearden L, Wilkinson KA., and Henley JM (2013) SENP3-mediated DeSUMOylation of dynamin-related protein 1 Promotes Cell Death Following Ischemia. EMBO J. 32(11) 1514-28.

Girach F, Craig T, Rocca D., and Henley JM (2013) RIM1α SUMOylation is required for fast synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Cell Reports , 5 1294-1301.

Kantamneni S., Wilkinson K., and Henley J. (2011) Ubiquitin regulation of neuronal excitability. Nat. Neurosci., 14 (2): 126-128.

Nakamura Y., Wood C., Patton A., Jaafari N., Henley J., Mellor J., and Hanley J. (2011) PICK1 inhibition of the Arp2/3 complex controls dendritic spine size and synaptic plasticity. EMBO J., 30: 719-30.

Hanley L., and Henley J. (2010) Differential roles of GRIP1a and GRIP1b in AMPA receptor trafficking. Neurosci. Lett., 485 (3): 167-72.

Fellowships, Awards and Honours 

2013            Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
2010            Visiting Professorial Fellowship, University of Dublin, Trinity College
2009            Royal Society-Wolfson Merit Award
2009            European Research Council Advanced Researcher
1998            PEDICIBA International Scholar Award (Montevideo, Uruguay)
1994            Canon Foundation Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship (Kyoto, Japan)
1988            MRC Post-doctoral Training Fellowship (LMB, Cambridge)
1987            EMBO Fellowship (awarded to work in Göttingen but not taken up)