MBExC Lecture

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june, 2024

202405jun4:15 PM5:15 PMMBExC LectureThe electrical maturation of neurons is regulated by tissue mechanics4:15 PM - 5:15 PM small lecture hall, MPI-NAT City Campus, Hermann-Rein-Str.3Speaker:Dr. Eva Kreysing, Uni Cambridge, UK

Event Details

Dr. Eva Kreysing from the University of Cambridge will give a talk on “The electrical maturation of neurons is regulated by tissue mechanics” during the MBExC Lecture on 5 June, 2024 at 4:15 pm at the small lecture hall, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3.

During the development of the nervous system, neurons grow axons and dendrites to connect with other cells. As neurons become integrated into the neural network, they mature and develop electrical activity. While mechanical interactions between neurons and their environment are critical for axon growth and pathfinding, their role in the electrical maturation of neurons, and thus in the formation of circuits in the developing brain, remain poorly understood. Here, we cultured rat hippocampal neurons on substrates with different mechanical properties and found that electrical activity developed earlier on soft hydrogels compared to stiff hydrogels. This stiffness-dependent neuronal maturation was mediated by the mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1. Using RNA sequencing, pathway analysis, CRIPSPR/Cas9-based gene knockdown and Western blots, we identified a downstream signalling cascade responsible for the differential expression of neurotransmitter receptors, which regulate neuronal maturation. Finally, we found that stiffening of the developing Xenopus laevis delayed circuit formation in vivo. Our findings highlight a critical role of mechanical signals in neuronal maturation and suggest that local brain tissue stiffness is a critical regulator of circuit formation in the developing brain.


Host: Prof. Dr. Fred Wolf, Goettingen Campus Institute for Dynamics of Biological Networks, University of Göttingen & MPI-DS

Please find the poster of the announcement here: