Jeffrey S. Diamond, Ph.D.
Synaptic Physiology Section
Building 35A, Room 3E-621
35 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-3701
Synapses mediate communication between neurons in the CNS. We have learned a great deal about the structural and molecular organization of these specialized contacts, but many important physiological questions remain unresolved. How do the morphological characteristics of the synaptic cleft and the biophysical properties of neurotransmitter receptors influence synaptic signaling? How do transporters, which bind free neurotransmitter and remove it from the extracellular space, limit the extent to which it diffuses from its point of release? Can neurotransmitter diffuse out of the synaptic cleft to activate receptors in neighboring synapses and, if so, how does this "spillover" degrade or enhance the information capacity of a neuronal network? How are these processes developmentally regulated? In the hippocampus, answers to these questions may give insight into the mechanisms by which learning and memory are implemented at the synaptic level. In the retina, they may help explain how visual information is transformed into a neural code and how the visual system's exquisite sensitivity and spatial acuity is preserved. We approach these questions experimentally using electrophysiological and imaging methods in hippocampal and retinal slice preparations.
Oesch NW, Diamond JS. Ribbon synapses compute temporal contrast and encode luminance in retinal rod bipolar cells. Nat Neurosci. 2011;14(12):1555-61.
Ding H, Smith RG, Poleg-Polsky A, Diamond JS, Briggman KL. Species-specific wiring for direction selectivity in the mammalian retina. Nature. 2016;535(7610):105-10.
Grimes WN, Zhang J, Tian H, Graydon CW, Hoon M, Rieke F, Diamond JS. Complex inhibitory microcircuitry regulates retinal signaling near visual threshold. J Neurophysiol. 2015;114(1):341-53.
Poleg-Polsky A, Diamond JS. NMDA Receptors Multiplicatively Scale Visual Signals and Enhance Directional Motion Discrimination in Retinal Ganglion Cells. Neuron. 2016;89(6):1277-90.
Graydon CW, Zhang J, Oesch NW, Sousa AA, Leapman RD, Diamond JS. Passive diffusion as a mechanism underlying ribbon synapse vesicle release and resupply. J Neurosci. 2014;34(27):8948-62.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics
This page was last updated on September 1st, 2017