Sari Lauri group
|Sari Lauri, PhD
Docent in Neurobiology, Group leader
Neuroscience Center and
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences/ Physiology
P.O.Box 65, FI- 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
Phone 59865 (internal), +358 50 311 2571
Email: sari.lauri at helsinki.fi
Formation of neuronal circuits is a highly dynamic process of rapid and concurrent formation and elimination of synaptic connections. During this early development immature neuronal networks typically display spontaneous, rhythmic activity, which is thought to be instrumental in the development of synaptic circuitry.
Exactly how activity shapes synaptic connectivity during development and the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes remain largely unknown. The key questions focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that link electrical activity to changes in synaptic structure and how these are regulated during development. To shed light on the process, we have investigated the glutamate receptor mechanisms to detect specific patterns of endogenous activity in the immature hippocampus as well as in the downstream signaling cascades converting receptor activity into long-lasting synaptic imprints. Our experimental approach involves the use of in vitro electrophysiological techniques in combination with pharmacological and local genetic manipulation of neuronal activity in various neonatal hippocampal preparations.
Our current main research interests are as follows:
1) the physiological functions and developmental regulation of kainate–type ionotropic glutamate receptors in the immature hippocampus; and
2) the activity-dependent mechanisms guiding presynaptic maturation at developing glutamatergic synapses. We aim to understand how the fast Hebbian and the slow, homeostatic plasticity mechanisms operate in the developing circuitry and how they might control the transition from immature to mature presynaptic function.