Lecture: Susan Dymecki
Decoding the brain's serotonergic system: Intersectional genetics and functional probing
Susan Dymecki, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Genetics
Harvard Medical School, USA
Brain serotonin-producing neurons are located in many separate anatomically defined nuclei in the brainstem. Despite their small numbers they innervate all parts of the central nervous system. The serotonin-producing neurons are heterogeneous differing in embryonic origin, final location, morphology, firing properties, and associated clinical disorders. The underpinnings and functional implications of this heterogeneity are largely unknown. To examine this heterogeneity, Dr. Dymecki has generated genetic tools for use in mice that allow multiple features of a neuron type to be delineated and linked in vivo. Dr. Dymecki has pioneered a dual recombinase-based molecule delivery system with plug-n-play modularity that allows any genetically-encoded lineage tracer or effector molecule to be incorporated and delivered in vivo to most neuron types. Using these tools, she has generated a classification scheme for serotonin neurons in the mammalian central nervous system that is based on genetic programs differentially enacted among serotonergic precursor cells and/or mature neurons. In her talk, which is the third of a series supported by the KI Neuroscience Network, she will present this new classification scheme which provides a mechanistic view of serotonergic neuron heterogeneity complementing the classical anatomical segregation. She will present data on neuronal silencing tools to plot cellular functions to these different serotonergic lineages. Through these approaches, Dr. Dymecki is redefining serotonin neuron subtypes and their contributions to the regulation of specific behaviors and physiological processes.
Hosts: Ole Kiehn and Gilberto Fisone