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Department of Neuroscience


Sathyanarayanan Puthanveettil, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Neuroscience
Florida Campus
Laboratory Website
sputhanv@scripps.edu
(561) 228-2243

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Molecular Logic For The Storage and Maintenance Of Long-Term Memory

The long-term goal of my laboratory is to understand the molecular and cellular basis of memory storage and cognitive disorders. At the cellular level there are two hallmarks of long-term memory storage: experience-dependent activation of gene expression in the nucleus, and local activation of translation at specific synapses. 

Previously I have demonstrated in Eric Kandel’s laboratory that activation of fast axonal transport in pre- and post- synaptic neurons during learning is another critical component of long-term memory storage. Activation of molecular transport to synapses is a rate limiting step and coordinates nuclear and synaptic processes during memory storage. The transported cargos include organelles, proteins, mRNAs, and noncoding RNAs. 

In an effort to learn what gene products are transported in specific neurons in response to activity, how they are transported, how they are stored for later use, and eventually when and how they are utilized at specific synapses during learning and memory storage, my laboratory uses an integrated approach that combines several high throughput techniques such as genomics and proteomics with electrophysiology, biochemistry, and imaging. A comprehensive understanding of transported cargos will help us in elucidating signaling pathways at the synapse and mechanisms underlying synaptic dysfunction. Animal models such as Aplysia and mice are used to tackle these questions at the cellular and systems levels. In addition, we explore these questions using mouse models for cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.

Education

B.S., Biology, Kerala Agricultural University
Ph.D., Biology, Washington State University
M.S., Biotechnology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

Awards & Professional Activities

National Merit Scholarship, Department of Education, India 1984-1991
Visiting Scientist. Dr. Nori Kurata Laboratory, Rice Genome Research Program, STAFF Institute. Tsukuba, Japan.1995 Graduate Research Assistant, Poovaiah Laboratory, Washington State University, Pullman 1996-2001
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Associate, Eric Kandel Laboratory, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University Medical Center, 2002
The National Neurofibromatosis Foundation and International Neurofibromatosis Research Foundation Prize for Innovative research ideas. 2003
Associate Research Scientist, Eric Kandel Laboratory, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University Medical Center, 2006

Selected References

Touzani, K., Puthanveettil, S. V., and Kandel, E. R. (2007) Consolidation of learning strategies during spatial working memory task requires proteins synthesis in the prefrontal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 104:5632-7.

Miniaci, M. C., Kim, J. H., Puthanveettil, S. V., Si, K., Zhu, H., Kandel, E. R., Bailey, C. H. (2008) Sustained CPEB-dependent local protein synthesis is required to stabilize synaptic growth for persistence of long-term facilitation in Aplysia. Neuron. 59:1024-36.

Puthanveettil, S. V., Monje, F. J., Miniaci, M. C., Choi, Y. B., Karl, K. A., Khandros, E., Gawinowicz, M. A., Sheetz, M. P., and Kandel, E. R. (2008) A new component in synaptic plasticity: upregulation of kinesin in the neurons of the gill-withdrawal reflex. Cell. 135:960-73. * Faculty of 1000 evaluated "Must read" paper in Neuroscience

Rajasethupathy, P., Fiumara, F., Sheridan, R., Betel, D., Puthanveettil, S. V., Russo, J. R., Sander, S., Tuschl, T., and Kandel, E. R. (2009) Characterization of small RNAs in Aplysia reveals a role for miR-124 in constraining long-term synaptic plasticity through CREB. Neuron. 63:803-17.

Links

No shrinking violet

Human, Sea Slug Brains Share Genes for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

How Many Genes Does It Take To Learn? Lessons From Sea Slugs