Jianmin’s manuscript is published in The Journal of Cell Biology

Collagen-derived matricryptins promote inhibitory nerve terminal formation in the developing neocortex

Inhibitory synapses comprise only ∼20% of the total synapses in the mammalian brain but play essential roles in controlling neuronal activity. In fact, perturbing inhibitory synapses is associated with complex brain disorders, such as schizophrenia and epilepsy. Although many types of inhibitory synapses exist, these disorders have been strongly linked to defects in inhibitory synapses formed by Parvalbumin-expressing interneurons. Here, we discovered a novel role for an unconventional collagen—collagen XIX—in the formation of Parvalbumin+ inhibitory synapses. Loss of this collagen results not only in decreased inhibitory synapse number, but also in the acquisition of schizophrenia-related behaviors. Mechanistically, these studies reveal that a proteolytically released fragment of this collagen, termed a matricryptin, promotes the assembly of inhibitory nerve terminals through integrin receptors. Collectively, these studies not only identify roles for collagen-derived matricryptins in cortical circuit formation, but they also reveal a novel paracrine mechanism that regulates the assembly of these synapses.



See the excellent preview by Ben Short at JCB (thanks Ben!):


Gabby’s abstract selected for oral presentation

Gabby Carrillo’s abstract was selected to be presented in an oral symposium at the 2016 American Society for Neurochemistry meeting in Denver. Gabby will present her work on how an extracellular matrix molecule promotes the normal development of neurons and circuits in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and is necessary for circadian photoentrainment.


Congrats Gabby!

Aboozar receives graduate student travel award

Aboozar Monavarfeshani received a Young Investigator Educational Enhancement award from the American Society of Neurochemistry. This award will support Aboozar’s travel to the annual meeting in Denver, CO in March 2016.

Aboozar will be presenting some of his work on the mechanisms underlying retinogeniculate synapse formation and maturation.



An news article about Sarah and Aboozar’s Cell Reports paper appears in BioTechniques

Congrats to Sarah and Aboozar on some recent press coverage of their study looking at retinal convergence on thalamic relay cells.


And thanks to Janelle Weaver for such excellent writing!


You can access the news article here:


Justin and Gabby’s paper on the impact of Toxoplasma gondii infection on inhibitory circuits is published in mBio

In collaboration with Dr. Ira Blader (SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine) and former Fox lab graduate student Dr. Justin Brooks, we recently discovered perturbations in inhibitory nerve terminals in the brains of mice infected with a type II strain of Toxoplasma gondii. Not only do we observe synaptic abnormalities in these mice, but the mice exhibit spontaneous seizures and higher susceptibility to drug-induced seizures.



Toxo image for website