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PDBEB Courses 2020/2021 - Synapse structure and function
March 22 - 26
Coordinators: Ana Luísa Carvalho - alc@cnc.uc.pt, Carlos Duarte - cbduarte@ci.uc.pt & Paulo Pinheiro pcspinheiro@gmail.com

Synapse structure and function – PDBEB course

Date: March 22-26, 2021

Location: CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra


Ana Luísa Carvalho (alc@cnc.uc.pt); CNC & FCTUC, University of Coimbra

Carlos B. Duarte (cbduarte@ci.uc.pt); CNC & FCTUC, University of Coimbra

Paulo Pinheiro (pcspinheiro@gmail.com); CNC, University of coimbra


Ana Luísa Cardoso, CNC, University of Coimbra ORCID 

Ana Luísa Carvalho, CNC & FCTUC, University of Coimbra ORCID; Lab

Ângela Inácio, CNC, University of Coimbra

Carlos B. Duarte, CNC & FCTUC, University of Coimbra ORCID; Lab

Dominique Fernandes, CNC, University of Coimbra

Ira Milosevic, University of Oxford, Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, 

Nuffield Department of Medicine & CNC, University of Coimbra ORCID, Lab

João Peça, CNC & FCTUC, University of Coimbra ORCID; Lab

Miranda Mele, CNC, University of Coimbra

Paulo Pinheiro, CNC, University of Coimbra ORCID; Lab

Ramiro D. Almeida, iBIMED, University of Aveiro & CNC, University of Coimbra ORCID

Ricardo Rodrigues, CNC, University of Coimbra ORCID; Lab

Rui O. Costa, CNC, University of Coimbra

Seminars by:

Christophe Mulle (IINS, University of Bordeaux)

Daniel Finely (Harvard Medical School)


March 22

(Zoom link)


9.00h-9.15h: Structure of the course; Introduction of students and lecturers

9.15h-10.30h: Neuronal migration: inter- and intracellular signaling. Ricardo Rodrigues

10.45h-11.45h: Establishment of neuronal polarity and axon pathfinding – Rui O. Costa

12.00h-13.30h: Electrophysiology: a primer (I) - João Peça


14.30h-15.45h: Electrophysiology: a primer (II) - Paulo Pinheiro


Neuronal polarity and axon pathfinding

Stoeckli 2018

March 23 

(Zoom link)

9.00h-10.00h: Molecular triggers of synapse formation and maturation – Ramiro D. Almeida

10.15h-11.15h: Introduction to synapses: structure-function and molecular composition - Ana Luisa Carvalho

11.30 -12.30h: Introduction to the presynapse - Paulo Pinheiro


14.00h-15.00h: Methods for studying presynaptic function – Paulo Pinheiro



Excitatory Synapses


March 24

(Zoom link)


9.00h-10.00h: Modes for synaptic vesicle formation, acidification and neurotransmitter filling – Ira Milosevic

10.15h-11.15h: Synaptic vesicle maturation and exocytosis – Ira Milosevic

11.30 -12.15h: Postsynaptic excitatory receptor function - Ana Luisa Carvalho

12.30h-13.15h: Synaptic plasticity & molecular mechanisms -Ana Luísa Carvalho


14h: Seminar by Christophe Mulle (IINS, University of Bordeaux)

Presynaptic plasticity in hippocampal circuits

(Zoom link)


Excitatory Receptors

Synaptic Plasticity

Exocytosis and Endocytosis



March 25

(Zoom link)

9.00h-10.00: Inhibitory synapse function and plasticity – Miranda Mele

10.15h-11.15h: Synaptic sculpting by microglia in health and disease – Ana Luisa Cardoso

11.30h-12.30h: Synaptic modulation by neurotrophins - Carlos B. Duarte



Lab talks (Zoom link):

13.30h-13.50h: Disrupted synaptic transmission and plasticity upon genetic or antibody-mediated disruption of Caspr2 – Dominique Fernandes

13.50h-14.20h: Synaptic alterations in an animal model of intellectual disability – Ângela Inácio



March 26

9.00h-11.00h: Grant presentation by students and discussion (see below)


14h: Seminar by Daniel Finley (Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School) Global remodeling of the proteome during extreme terminal differentiation

(Zoom Link)


Student Assignments:

Students (in groups) will prepare a grant proposal based on original papers proposed to them. 
On March 26th, students will present and discuss their proposal. 
Throughout the course the students should approach their tutor to discuss the grant proposal.
Groups 1 and 2 (Zoom link) – tutor Ana Luisa Carvalho
Group 1: Daniela Lopes, Raquel Santos, Maria Inês Alfaiate

Ribeiro LF, Catarino T, Carvalho M, Cortes L, Santos SD, Opazo PO, Ribeiro LR, Oliveiros B, Choquet D, Esteban JA, Peça J, Carvalho AL. Ligand-independent activity of the ghrelin receptor modulates AMPA receptor trafficking and supports memory formation. Sci Signal. 2021 Feb 16;14(670):eabb1953. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.abb1953. PMID: 33593997.

Group 2: Filipa Gouveia, Marta Sousa
Araki Y, Hong I, Gamache TR, Ju S, Collado-Torres L, Shin JH, Huganir RL. 
SynGAP isoforms differentially regulate synaptic plasticity and dendritic development.
Elife. 2020 Jun 24;9:e56273. doi: 10.7554/eLife.56273.
Groups 3 and 4 (Zoom link) – tutor Paulo Pinheiro
Group 3: Annika-Julia Jahn, Daniel Henriques
Gowrisankaran, S., Houy, S., del Castillo, J.G.P. et al. 
Endophilin-A coordinates priming and fusion of neurosecretory vesicles via intersectin. 
Nat Commun 11, 1266 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14993-8
Group 4: Carla Cavaleiro, Inês Seixas Ramos
Fujii T, Sakurai A, Littleton JT, Yoshihara M. Synaptotagmin 
7 switches short-term synaptic plasticity from depression to facilitation by suppressing synaptic transmission. 
Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 18;11(1):4059. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-83397-5.
Goups 5 and 6 (Zoom link) – tutor Carlos B Duarte
Group 5: Matilde Pereira, Marianna Mekhaeil

Afonso P, De Luca P, Carvalho RS, Cortes L, Pinheiro P, Oliveiros B, Almeida RD, Mele M, Duarte CB. (2019) BDNF increases synaptic NMDA receptor abundance by enhancing the local translation of Pyk2 in cultured hippocampal neurons. Sci Signal 12(586):eaav3577.


Group 6: Miguel Rosado, Diana Lobo,

Heumüller M, Glock C, Rangaraju V, Biever A, Schuman EM. (2019) Spatially stable mitochondrial compartments fuel local translation during plasticity. Cell .176(1-2):73-84.e15. 

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