Neuronal Signaling

Group 35
Leader: Judit Makara

The Laboratory of Neuronal Signaling has been established in 2011. The main focus of the lab is to understand how the active, voltage dependent properties of dendrites and dendritic spines contribute to information processing on the single cell and network level during physiologically relevant learning-related behaviors.

Most mammalian neurons receive thousands of excitatory synaptic contacts that are located on their elaborate dendritic tree. The passive and active electrical properties of dendrites thus have profound influences on the integration of synaptic inputs. Recent in vivo studies confirmed that in certain cortical neuron types active dendritic nonlinearities contribute to neuronal output. Understanding the molecular details of dendritic function is therefore essential to disentangle behaviorally relevant circuit computations.

Voltage dependent ion conductances in dendrites and spines may generate local nonlinear interactions of voltage and Ca2+ signals arising from multiple spatiotemporally coactive synaptic inputs such as those provided by the correlated activity of a neuronal ensemble. These mechanisms enable neurons to detect and transmit specific forms of information encoded in the activity of the neuronal network, as well as to potentially reorganize synaptic strength depending on the actual parameters of incoming input patterns. Furthermore, dynamic regulation of voltage dependent conductances provides a new layer of cellular plasticity mechanisms that may affect the precision, rate and timing of the output of neuronal populations receiving the same input patterns.

We use a combination of two-photon imaging, two-photon glutamate uncaging and electrophysiology to study these mechanisms in the rodent hippocampal circuitry in vitro. We also aim to investigate how changes in cellular and dendrite excitability are associated with in vivo learning paradigms.

Excerpt from the Guidebook of the Institute 2015.

Funding supporting our research:

  • ERC Consolidator Grant
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, International Research Scholar grant
  • NKFIH K17 grant
  • FLAG-ERA HBP consortium grant
  • NKFIH PD grant (Balázs Ujfalussy)
  • NKFIH FK grant (Balázs Ujfalussy)

Group webpage:

Lab members:

Judit MakaraGroup Leader, Senior Research Fellow
Rita NyilasAssociated Research Fellow
Snezana Raus BalindAssociated Research Fellow
Bertalan AndrásfalvySenior Research Fellow
Ádám MagóPhD Student
Noémi KisScientific Administrator
Balázs LükőScientific Administrator
Zsófia Varga-NémethTechnician
Kata SzamosfalviUndergraduate Student