Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

James J. Chambers

Second Advisor

Min Chen

Third Advisor

Daniel N. Hebert

Subject Categories

Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Molecular Biology

Abstract

Neuronal communication is mediated by chemical signaling at the synapse. The underlying molecular mechanisms of learning and memory are poorly understood. Very few tools are available to study how memories are formed in the mammalian brain. This dissertation focuses on developing novel strategies to study neural activity. Here we develop and use a chemical-genetic approach to enable target-specific photocontrol of inhibitory synaptic neurotransmission of GABAA receptor subtypes. The tools developed here selectively photocontrolled GABAA receptor subtypes. This enabled the investigation of the functional role these receptor subtypes have in inhibitory synaptic neurotransmission. This dissertation also focuses on identifying the role of HDAC6 in Alzheimer’s disease. Increased expression of HDAC6 was identified as an underlying molecular factor that led to pathological tau accumulation and early changes that correlate with synaptic dysfunction, hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Share

COinS