Gina Turrigiano

Gina TurrigianoJoseph Levitan Professor of Vision Science

Research Description

Homeostasis and Neural Circuit Plasticity and Function

Turrigiano research image-Demo max intensity projectionThe Turrigiano lab studies the plasticity mechanisms that allow our brains to “tune themselves up” and remain both plastic and stable. Over the last two decades we uncovered a family of “homeostatic” plasticity mechanisms, including Synaptic Scaling, that allow neurons to adjust their excitability to maintain constant firing rates in the face of outside perturbations.

More recently we have been probing the role of homeostatic plasticity in the experience-dependent development of the neocortex. We are specially interested in understanding how homeostatic mechanisms interact with classical forms of synaptic plasticity such as LTP/LTD to allow experience-dependent circuit refinement and learning, and in the role of sleep and other behavioral states in gating these forms of plasticity.

Selected Publications

  • Hengen KB, Torredo Pacheco A, McGregor J, Van Hooser S, and Turrigiano GG (2016) Neuronal firing rate homeostasis is inhibited by sleep and promoted by active wake. Cell 165(1): 180-191. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.046

  • Gainey M, Tatavarty V, Nahmani M., Lin H., and Turrigiano GG (2015) Activity-dependent Synaptic GRIP1 Accumulation Drives Synaptic Scaling Up in Response to Action Potential Blockade. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(27): E3590-3599

  • Hengen KB, Lambo ME, Van Hooser S, Katz DB, and Turrigiano, G.G. (2013) Firing Rate Homeostasis in Visual Cortex of Freely Behaving Rodents. Neuron 80(2): 335-342

  • Ibata, K., Sun, Q., and Turrigiano, G.G. (2008) Rapid synaptic scaling induced by changes in postsynaptic firing. Neuron. 2008 Mar 27;57(6):819-26

  • Turrigiano, G (2008) The self-tuning neuron: synaptic scaling of excitatory synapses. Cell. 2008 Oct 31;135(3):422-35.

  • Turrigiano, G.G., Leslie, K.R, Desai, N.S, Rutherford, L.C., and Nelson, S.B. (1998) Activity-dependent scaling of quantal amplitude in neocortical neurons. Nature 391:892-895.

For full list of publications visit the Turrigiano lab website.