Laboratory of Cell Biophysics

Head: Jakub Włodarczyk

Staff: Monika Bijata (PhD student), Iwona Czaban, Sneha Pant, Marta Pyskaty, Michał Stawarski (PhD student), Zsuzsanna Szepesi (PhD)

Research profile:

At the cellular level, brain plasticity relies on modifications in synaptic connectivity and excitability that are driven by molecular changes in neurons and glia. Synapses are particularly prone to dynamic alterations and thus are believed to play a major role in plasticity. We study structural and functional synaptic modifications regulated by extracellular matrix proteolytic modifiers. In particular, we investigate the role of the extracellular matrix proteins and cell adhesion molecules in synapse formation and stabilization and their influence on postsynaptic receptor composition. We employ imaging based techniques to assess the reorganization of activity patterns accompanied by local volumetric changes at the synapses. Another line of research aims to understand the cooperative involvement of serotonin signaling pathways and extracellular matrix in synaptic plasticity underlying the pathogenesis of stress-related disorders.

Methods:

• Fluorescence confocal microscopy
• Fluorescence lifetime imaging
FRET based methods
• Superresolution light microscopy
• Methods for protein-protein interactions study in living cells

Current research activities:

• Structural brain plasticity driven by extracellular matrix modifiers
• Quantitative analysis of dendritic spine turnover, morphological changes and receptor composition within the spine
• Cooperative involvement of serotonin signaling pathways and extracellular matrix in synaptic plasticity underlying the pathogenesis of stress-related disorders


Selected recent publications:

Dziembowska M., Włodarczyk J. (2012) MMP-9: a novel function in synaptic plasticity. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 44: 709-713.

Ruszczycki B., Szepesi Zs., Wilczyński G.M., Bijata M., Kalita K., Kaczmarek L., Włodarczyk J. (2012) Sampling Issues in Quantitative Analysis of Dendritic Spines Morphology. BMC Bioinformatics, 13: 213.

Włodarczyk J., Mukhina I., Kaczmarek L., Dityatev A. (2011) Extracellular matrix molecules, their receptors and secreted proteases in synaptic plasticity. Developmental Neurobiology, 71: 1040-1053.

Michaluk P., Wawrzyniak M., Alot P., Szczot M., Wyrembek P., Mercik K., Medvedev N., Wilczek E., De Roo M., Zuschratter W., Muller D., Wilczyński G.M., Mozrzymas J.W., Stewart M.G., Kaczmarek L., Włodarczyk J. (2011) Influence of matrix metalloproteinase, MMM-9 on Dendritic Spine Morphology. Journal of Cell Science, 124: 3369-3380.

Woehler AT., Włodarczyk J., Neher E., (2010) Signal-to-Noise Analysis of FRET-Based Sensors. Biophysical Journal, 99: 2344-2354.