Synaptic Basis of Neurological Disorders
Eunjoon Kim, IBS / KAIST

Neuronal synapses are contact points between two different neurons where neurotransmitters are released and sensed by their spe- cific receptors. Neuronal synapses have received much attention because they represent fundamental units of neural communications, and act together to form and regulate neural circuits in the brain. Neuronal synapses have recently found to be much more complex than we previously thought, being composed of a large number of proteins (~>1,000). These proteins are thought to act together to regulate synapse formation, synaptic transmission, and synaptic plasticity. More recently, defects in a large number of genes encoding synaptic proteins have been associated with diverse brain disorders, including neurological and psychiatric disorders. Naturally, re- searchers in our area have been focusing on understanding how defects in synaptic proteins lead to abnormalities in synapses, neural circuits, and brain functions. The two speakers who are experts in synapse and biological psychiatry fields should be able to give us excellent examples.

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