Katherine W. Roche, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Receptor Biology Section

NINDS

Building 35, Room 2C-903
35 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-3704

301-496-3800

rochek@ninds.nih.gov

Research Topics

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system, and in addition to its central role in fast excitatory signaling it is also involved in synaptogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and the pathogenesis of certain neurologic diseases. Although glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter in all pathways of the central nervous system, the response to glutamate is not uniform at all glutamatergic synapses and varies with the type of glutamate receptor expressed on the postsynaptic membrane. In this context, we are interested in studying synapse-specific expression of postsynaptic NMDA and metabotropic glutamate receptors. My laboratory characterizes the molecular mechanisms underlying neurotransmitter receptor transport and localization at the synapse using several research strategies which include (1) defining sorting motifs present in neurotransmitter receptor cytosolic domains, (2) isolating neurotransmitter receptor-associated proteins, and (3) determining the role of protein-protein interactions in trafficking and specific synapse localization. Using these cell biological approaches, we hope to elucidate the mechanisms of neurotransmitter receptor trafficking in neurons and the role of accessory proteins at central synapses.

Biography

Dr. Roche received her B.S. from Duke University. In 1995 she received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, where she worked with Richard Huganir studying the regulation of glutamate receptors. She then did a postdoctoral fellowship with Robert Wenthold in the NIDCD, where she investigated the cell biology of glutamate receptor transport and localization. Dr. Roche joined NINDS as an Investigator in 2001. The main focus of her laboratory is the study of neurotransmitter receptor expression and targeting to the synapse.

Selected Publications

  1. Lomash RM, Gu X, Youle RJ, Lu W, Roche KW. Neurolastin, a Dynamin Family GTPase, Regulates Excitatory Synapses and Spine Density. Cell Rep. 2015;12(5):743-51.

  2. Gu X, Mao X, Lussier MP, Hutchison MA, Zhou L, Hamra FK, Roche KW, Lu W. GSG1L suppresses AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission and uniquely modulates AMPA receptor kinetics in hippocampal neurons. Nat Commun. 2016;7:10873.

  3. Bemben MA, Nguyen QA, Wang T, Li Y, Nicoll RA, Roche KW. Autism-associated mutation inhibits protein kinase C-mediated neuroligin-4X enhancement of excitatory synapses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015;112(8):2551-6.

  4. Bemben MA, Shipman SL, Hirai T, Herring BE, Li Y, Badger JD 2nd, Nicoll RA, Diamond JS, Roche KW. CaMKII phosphorylation of neuroligin-1 regulates excitatory synapses. Nat Neurosci. 2014;17(1):56-64.

  5. Won S, Incontro S, Nicoll RA, Roche KW. PSD-95 stabilizes NMDA receptors by inducing the degradation of STEP61. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(32):E4736-44.


This page was last updated on October 3rd, 2016