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The role of D-Serine in the cellular communication between neurons and astrocytes during neurodevelopment

Grant number: 18/07034-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Principal researcher:Daniel Martins-de-Souza
Grantee:Verônica Aparecida Monteiro Saia Cereda
Supervisor abroad: Fred Gage
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Salk Institute For Biological Studies, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:16/07332-7 - The role of 14-3-3 and Ephrin signaling pathways on cellular communication between neurons-astrocytes and the functioning of the synapse tripartite, BP.DR


Schizophrenia is an incurable mental disorder that affects 1% of the world population and is among the most disabling human diseases. On average, 70% of patients abandon medication due to its low efficacy and the presence of severe side effects. To change these conditions, it is necessary to understand the pathophysiology of schizophrenia at the molecular level. Besides the long-established neurodevelopmental hypothesis, works based on neuroimaging, postmortem brain proteomics, and pharmacological, genetic, and animal model studies have shown dysfunction in glial cells and deficits in synaptic transmission. As all these factors may be connected in the development of this complex disorder, we intend to integrate neuroproteomics, pluripotent stem cells, and CRISPR-CAS9 to further investigate the biological mechanisms involved in synaptic dysfunction, since the early neurodevelopment. To achieve this, we propose to study the role of D-Serine formation in astrocyte-neuron communication in a neurodevelopmental model. We intend to unravel how deregulation of this communication may influence on the formation of neural connections and signaling pathways, which are defective in diseased brains.

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