Columbia University in the City of New York

Jan 23, 202410:30 am

Columbia Neuroscience Seminar - Dorothy Schafer

January 23rd, 10:30 am – 11:30 am at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)

Dorothy Schafer, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology
UMass Chan Medical School
University of Massachusetts


Microglia-astrocyte crosstalk underlying cortical synapse remodeling


Synapses remodel in response to changes in sensory experience and neural activity. Microglia and astrocytes both contribute to activity-dependent synapse remodeling by engulfing and removing synapses from less active neurons. Yet, how these two cell types communicate to coordinate synapse removal is unknown. Previously, we showed that microglia engulf and remove synapses in neonate mouse barrel cortex following whisker lesioning and whisker trimming-induced reductions in neural activity. This whisker removal-induced synapse removal was dependent on signaling between neuronal fractalkine (CX3CL1) and its cognate microglial fractalkine receptor (CX3CR1). Using this whisker lesioning paradigm coupled with cell type-specific translating ribosome affinity purification, we have identified that CX3CL1-CX3CR1 signaling in microglia elicits a novel microglia-to-astrocyte Wnt signaling. This intercellular signaling is critical for astrocytes to move away from the synapse to accommodate synapse engulfment by microglia. These new data highlight an important microglia-to-astrocyte communication critical for synapse remodeling in the developing brain and we are now exploring the relevance of this communication for brain-wide plasticity and synapse vulnerability in disease.


Relevant Publications:

Sensory lesioning induces microglial synapse elimination via ADAM10 and fractalkine signaling


Host(s): Franck Polleux (Faculty) and Carlos Diaz (Postdoctoral Research Scientist).

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


This event will be in-person only and will not offer a Zoom option.
Open only to Columbia University and Columbia University Affiliates.
Speaker Location: Jerome L. Greene Science Center, 9th Floor Lecture Hall
Live-stream Location: CUIMC, Hammer Health Sciences Center, Lower Level 1, Room 107 


Tuesdays@10 is a signature Zuckerman Institute initiative that aims to expose researchers at all levels to high-quality science and stimulate scientific discourse. The speakers featured in this series represent various fields and techniques in neuroscience, and are either external to Columbia (Columbia Neuroscience Seminars and Special Seminars) or are Columbia faculty members (Local Circuits) invited through a combined, collaborative effort of one or more of the following: Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and with support from the Kavli Institute for Brain Science


More information and a full schedule can be found here.


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