A striking feature of the mature central nervous system is the precision of its synaptic circuitry. More than 80 billion neurons in the human brain are precisely connected to one another through trillions of synapses. Much of the wiring is established in the absence of neural activity or experience indicating the basic organization of neural pathways is encoded in the genetic program. Recent studies support that several devastating developmental diseases, including autism and schizophrenia, have as their root cause modifications in the genetic program that ultimately disrupt the balance of synaptic connections. In order to understand how synapse specificity is achieved and how it is altered in human diseases, we investigate mechanisms controlling pathway development and synaptogenesis in development and how these same mechanisms influence synapse stability and plasticity in adulthood.
Benson DL (2020) Of molecules and mechanisms. J Neurosci 40:81-88. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0743-19.2019
Benson DL and Huntley GW (2019) Are we listening to everything the PARK genes are telling us? J Comp Neurol 527: 1527-1540. doi: 10.1002/cne.24642
Benson DL, Matikainen-Ankney BA, Hussein A, Huntley GW (2018) Functional and behavioral consequences of Parkinson’s disease-associated LRRK2-G2019S mutation. Biochemical Society Transactions 38:9700-9711. doi: 10.1042/BST20180468.
Matikainen-Ankney BA*, Kezunovic N*, Menard C1, Flanigan M, Zhong Y, Russo SJ, Benson DL§ and Huntley GW§ (2018) Parkinson’s disease-linked leucine-rich repeat kinase 2-G2019S mutation alters synaptic plasticity and promotes resilience to chronic social stress in young adulthood. J Neurosci. 38:9700-9711. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1457-18.2018.
Bardot E, Tzavaras N, Benson DL, Dubois NC (2017) Quantitative whole-mount immunofluorescence analysis of cardiac progenitor populations in mouse embryos. J Vis Exp. 2017 Oct 12;(128). doi: 10.3791/56446.
Matikainen-Ankney BA*, Kezunovic N*, Mesias RE, Tian Y, Williams FM, +Huntley GW, +Benson DL (2016) Altered development of synapse structure and function in striatum caused by Parkinson’s disease-linked LRRK2-G2019S mutation. Journal of Neuroscience, J Neuroscience, 27:7128-41.doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3314-15.2016.
Hsiao K, Harony-Nicolas H, Buxbaum JD, +Bozdagi-Gunal O, +Benson DL (2016) Cyfip1 regulates presynaptic activity during development. J. Neuroscience 36:1564-76. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0511-15.2016.
Carcea I, Benson DL (2016) Visualizing and characterizing Semaphorin endocytic events using quantum dot conjugated proteins. Methods in Molecular Biology, in “Semaphorin Signaling: Methods and Protocols. Vol 1493. Editor Jonathan R Terman.
Friedman LG, Riemslagh FW, Sullivan JM, Mesias R, Williams FM, Huntley GW, Benson DL (2015) Cadherin-8 expression, synaptic localization and molecular control of neuronal form in prefrontal corticostriatal circuits. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 523:75-92. PMID 25158904. doi: 10.1002/cne.23666. Epub 2014 Sep 22.
Friedman LG, Benson DL, Huntley GW (2015) Cadherin-based transsynaptic networks in establishing and modifying neural connectivity. Current Topics in Developmental Biology:112:415-65. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2014.11.025.
Hsiao K, Bozdagi O, Benson DL (2014) Axonal cap-dependent translation regulates presynaptic p35. Dev Neurobiol. Mar;74 (3):351-64.
Carcea I, Patil SB, Robison AJ, Mesias R, Huntsman MM, Froemke RC, Buxbaum JD, Huntley GW, Benson DL (2014) Maturation of cortical circuits requires Sema7A. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 111: 13978-83.
Kinoshita Y, Hunter RG, Gray JD, Mesias R, McEwen BS, Benson DL, Kohtz DS (2014) Role for NUP62 depletion and PYK2 redistribution in dendritic retraction resulting from chronic stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 11;111(45):16130-5
Nikitczuk JS, Patil SB, Matikainen-Ankney BA, Scarpa J, Shapiro ML, Benson DL, Huntley GW (2014) N-cadherin regulates molecular organization of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic circuits in adult hippocampus in vivo. Hippocampus Aug;24(8):943-62
Mintz CD, Barrett KMS, Benson DL, Harrison NL (2013) Anesthetics interfere with axon guidance in developing mouse neocortical neurons via a GABAA receptor mechanism. Anesthesiology, 118: 825-833.
Sepulveda B, Mesias R, Li X, Yue Z, Benson DL (2013) Short- and long-term effects of LRRK2 on axon and dendrite growth, PLoS One 8: e61986.
Mortillo S, Elste AM, Ge Y., Patil SB, Hsiao K, Huntley GW, Davis RL, Benson DL (2012) Compensatory redistribution of neuroligins and N-cadherin following deletion of synaptic ß1-integrin. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 520: 2041-52.
Benson DL and Huntley GW (2012) Synapse adhesion: a dynamic equilibrium conferring stability and flexibility, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 22: 397-404.
Huntley GW, Elste AM, Patil SB, Bozdagi O, Benson DL, and Steward O (2012) Synaptic loss and retention of different classic cadherins with LTP-associated synaptic structural remodeling in vivo. Hippocampus 22, 17 – 28.
Benson DL and Huntley, GW (2012) Building and remodeling synapses. Hippocampus, 22: 954-968.
Sepulveda B, Carcea I, Zhao B, Salton SRJ, Benson DL (2011) L1CAM promotes resistance to alcohol-induced silencing of growth cone responses to guidance cues, Neuroscience 180: 30-40.
Carcea I, Ma’ayan A, Mesias R, Sepulveda B, Salton SR, Benson DL (2010) Flotillin-mediated endocytic events dictate cell-type specific responses to Semaphorin 3A, Journal of Neuroscience 30:15317-15329.
*Bozdagi O, *Wang X, *Nikitczuk JS, Anderson TR, Bloss EG, Radice GL, Zhou Q, +Benson DL, +Huntley GW (2010) Persistence of coordinated LTP and dendritic spine enlargement at mature synapses requires N-cadherin, Journal of Neuroscience, 30:9984-9989. Highlighted in J Neuroscience
Meet the Team
Pamela Del Valle
Current Position: NIH
Current Position: Amgen