Current Research Interests:
The remarkable information processing capacity of neurons in the mammalian brain stems from the intricate organization of their synaptic connections and the ability of these synapses to change with experience. In brain areas such as the hippocampus, the ability of principal neurons to accommodate dense networks of synaptic connectivity is critical for higher cognitive functions such as learning and memory.
Our group is interested in the molecular mechanisms that control the development, maintenance and plasticity of these synapses, and in particular, how the compartmentalization of these processes in dendrites can service the unique demands of different synaptic sites impinging on the same neuron. Our research uses a combination of electrophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular approaches in conjunction with high-resolution imaging in living neurons to study these questions.
Sutton MA, Schuman EM. (2006). Dendritic protein synthesis, synaptic plasticity, and memory. Cell, 127: 49-58.
Sutton MA, Ito HT, Cressy P, Kempf C, Woo, JC, Schuman EM. (2006). Miniature neurotransmission stabilizes synaptic function via tonic suppression of local dendritic protein synthesis. Cell, 125: 785-799.
Sutton MA, Schuman EM. (2005). Local translational control in dendrites and its role in long-term synaptic plasticity. Journal of Neurobiology, 64: 116-131.
Sutton MA, Aakalu G, Wall NR, Schuman EM. (2004). Regulation of dendritic protein synthesis by miniature synaptic events. Science, 304: 1979-1983.
Sutton MA, Schmidt EF, Choi K-H, Schad CA, Whisler K, Simmons D, Karanian DA, Monteggia LM, Neve RL, Self DW. (2003). Extinction-induced upregulation in AMPA receptors reduces cocaine-seeking behaviour. Nature, 421: 70-75.
Sutton MA, Masters SE, Bagnall MW, Carew TJ. (2001). Molecular mechanisms underlying a unique intermediate phase of memory in Aplysia. Neuron, 31: 143-154.
Sutton MA, Carew TJ (2000). Parallel molecular pathways mediate expression of distinct forms of intermediate-term facilitation at tail sensory-motor synapses in Aplysia. Neuron, 26: 219-231