Anton Maximov, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Neuroscience
California Campus

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Associate Professor, Dorris Neuroscience Center
Faculty, Graduate Program

Other Joint Appointments

Adjunct Professor, UCSD

Research Focus

The mammalian brain is composed of billions of neurons. Each of these neurons forms up to several thousand synaptic connections, asymmetric intercellular junctions that transmit signals essential for our abilities to perceive the external world, generate behavioral responses, learn and remember. Synapses are sophisticated structures built with hundreds of different proteins. Mutations in genes encoding these proteins have been implicated in a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia.

Our laboratory uses the power of mouse genetics to study how neurons establish their connectivity patterns during development, and how they maintain and re-organize synapses in the adult brain. We employ a variety of experimental approaches ranging from imaging of specific genetically targeted neuronal types in intact circuits to behavioral analyses of mice engineered to have mutations in genes of interest or to manipulate synaptic communication with small molecules. Our primary model system is the Dentate Gurus, a brain region that relays information essential for multiple cognitive tasks from the cerebral cortex to the hippocampus.

A part of our research program is focused on dissecting the mechanisms controlling transcription of synapse-related genes. The majority of these genes become activated when the developing brain starts receiving inputs from peripheral sensory neurons responding to light, odors, sounds, and mechanical stimuli. Experience also profoundly influences gene expression in the adult brain, and this process plays a critical role in learning and memory. We are interested in identifying transcriptional activators and repressors that sense neuronal activity and orchestrate global or cell-type-specific changes in their transcriptional profiles, and in elucidating the roles of these factors in synapse formation and information processing. In conjunction with these studies, we also search for factors that regulate synaptic connectivity between human neurons differentiated in vitro from non-neuronal cells.

A second major interest in our laboratory is in membrane trafficking. Neurons communicate with each other by secreting a variety of molecules including classical neurotransmitters, guidance cues, neuropeptides and trophic factors. These molecules are stored in specialized vesicular organelles that deliver and release cargo at distinct spatially-restricted sites such as presynaptic boutons, tips of axons, and dendritic spines. We combine genetic methods with high-resolution time-lapse imaging of fluorescent reporters in live neurons to study the mechanisms underlying vesicle sorting, transport and exocytosis.

The progress of contemporary neurobiology depends on continuous development of new tools for targeting discrete structurally and functionally diverse neuronal populations in the brain, controlling their activity, and monitoring the outcomes of these manipulations at molecular, cellular and systems levels. We design and improve such tools for our own research, and freely distribute them to the neuroscience community around the globe. 


Ph.D. (Cytology), Russian Academy of Sciences, 2007

Professional Experience

2016-2017 Associate Professor (tenured), Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (MCN), Scripps Research
2014-2016 Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (MCN), Scripps Research
2014-2016 Associate Professor (Joint Appointment), Dorris Neuroscience Center, Scripps Research
2013-2014 Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (MCN), Scripps Research
2007-2014 Assistant Professor (Joint Appointment), Dorris Neuroscience Center, Scripps Research
2007-2012 Assistant Professor, Cell Biology, Scripps Research

Selected References

All Publications

Lobanova A, She R, Pieraut S, Clapp C, Maximov A, Denchi EL. Different requirements of functional telomeres in neural stem cells and terminally differentiated neurons. Genes & Development 31.7 (2017): 639-647.

Sando R, Bushong E, Zhu Y, Huang M, Considine C, Phan S, Ju S, Uytiepo M, Ellisman M, Maximov A. Assembly of Excitatory Synapses in the Absence of Glutamatergic Neurotransmission. Neuron. 2017; Apr 19;94(2):312-321.e3

Kwon S-K, Sando R, Lewis TL, Hirabayashi Y, Maximov A, Polleux F. LKB1 Regulates Mitochondria-Dependent Presynaptic Calcium Clearance and Neurotransmitter Release Properties at Excitatory Synapses along Cortical Axons. (2016) PLoS Biology.14(7):e1002516. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002516.

Shimojo M, Courchet J, Pieraut S, Torabi-Rander N, Sando R, Polleux F, Maximov A. SNAREs controlling vesicular release of BDNF and development of callosal axons. Cell Reports 11(7):1054-66.

Pieraut S, Gounko N, Sando R 3rd, Dang W, Rebboah E, Panda S, Madisen L, Zeng H,  Maximov A. (2014) Experience-dependent remodeling of basket cell networks in the dentate gyrus. Neuron 84(1):107-22.

Sando R, Baumgaertel K, Pieraut S, Wandless T, Mayford M, Maximov A (2013) Inducible control of gene expression with destabilized Cre. Nature Methods 10(11):1085-8.

Courchet J, Mairet-Coello G, Pieraut S, Maximov A, Polleux F (2013) The CAMKK2-AMPK kinase pathway mediates the synaptotoxic effects of Amyloid-beta oligomers through Tau phosphorylation on S262. Neuron 78(1):94-108.

Liao L, Sando R, Farnum J, Vanderklish P, Maximov A, Yates J (2012). 15N-labeled brain enables quantification of proteome and phosphoproteome in cultured primary neurons. J Proteome Res 11(2):1341-53.

Sando R, Pieraut S, Gounko N, Liao L, Yates J, Maximov A (2012) HDAC4 governs a transcriptional program essential for synaptic plasticity and memory. Cell 151(4):821-834.

Cao P, Maximov A, Südhof TC (2011) Activity-dependent IGF-1 exocytosis is controlled by the Ca2+-sensor Synaptotagmin-10. Cell 145(2): 300-311.

Maximov A, Tang J, Yang X, Pang Z, Südhof TC (2009) Complexin controls the force transfer from SNARE complexes to membranes in fusion. Science 323(5913):516-521.

Tang J #, Maximov A #, Shin OH, Dai H, Rizo J, Südhof TC. (2006) A complexin/synaptotagmin-1 switch controls fast synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Cell 126(6):1175-87 (# These authors contributed equally to this work).

Maximov A, Südhof TC. (2005) Autonomous function of synaptotagmin-1 in triggering synchronous release independent of asynchronous release. Neuron 48(4):547-554.