Research Areas

  • Inhibitory GABAergic synapses
  • GABA receptors and GABAergic synaptic proteins
  • GABAergic synapse formation in culture and in the brain
  • Modification of GABAergic synapses
  • Molecular and Cell Neurobiology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Transgenic expression of synaptic proteins
  • Knockout and knockdown of synaptic proteins

Recent Selected Publications

Fekete C,  Goz RU, Dinallo S, Miralles CP, Chiou TT,  Bear JJr, Fiondella CG,  LoTurco JJ, and De Blas AL (2017) In vivo transgenic expression of collybistin in neurons of the rat cerebral cortex. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:1291-1311. Link

Fekete C, Chiou TT, Miralles CP, Harris RS, Fiondella CG, LoTurco JJ and De Blas AL (2015) In vivo clonal overexpression of neuroligin 3 and neuroligin 2 in neurons of the rat cerebral cortex. Differential effects on GABAergic synapses and neuronal migration. J. Comp. Neurol. 523:1359-1378. Link

Jin H, Chiou TT, Serwanski DR,   Miralles CP, Pinal N and De Blas AL (2014) RNF34 interacts with and promotes gamma-aminobutyric acid type-A receptor degradation via ubiquitination of the g2 subunit. J. Biol. Chem. 289:29420-29436. Link

Rui Y, Myers KR, Yu K, Wise A, De Blas AL, Hartzell HC, Zheng JQ (2013)  Activity-Dependent Regulation of Dendritic Growth and Maintenance by Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3b. Nature Communications 4:2628 doi: 10.1038/ncomms3628. Link

Li Y, Xiao H, Chiou TT, Jin H, Bonhomme B, Miralles CP, Pinal N, Ali R, Chen WV, Maniatis T and De Blas AL (2012) Molecular and functional interaction between Protocadherin g-C5 and GABAA receptors. J. Neurosci. 32:11780-11797. Link

Wu X, Wu Z, Ning G,  Guo Y, Ali R, Macdonald R L, De Blas AL, Luscher B. and Chen G (2012)  GABAA Receptor Alpha Subunits Play a Direct Role in  Synaptic versus Extrasynaptic Targeting.  J. Biol. Chem. 287:27417-27430. Link

Chiou TT, Bonhomme B, Jin H, Miralles CP, Xiao H, Fu Z, Harvey RJ,  Harvey  K,  Vicini S   and De Blas A.L (2011) Differential regulation of the postsynaptic clustering of GABAA receptors by collybistin isoforms. J. Biol. Chem. 286:22456-22468. Link

Research Interests

We are studying inhibitory GABAergic synapses. We are investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in GABAergic synapse formation and regulation of inhibitory synaptic strength. We are studying the mechanisms by which postsynaptic GABAA receptors and other proteins selectively localized at GABAergic synapses concentrate in these synapses, interact with each other and regulate synaptic function.

When the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) binds to postsynaptic GABAA receptors, which are also Cl- channel resulting in the opening of these Cl- channels, the inflow of  Cl- ions, membrane hyperpolarization and inhibition of  the neuron. Benzodiazepines (i.e. Valium) also bind to the GABAA receptor, facilitating the opening of the Cl- channel induced by GABA. Therefore, benzodiazepines potentiate the inhibitory actions of GABA. The anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxing properties of these drugs are due to this GABA-enhancing mechanism.