Research Summary

The Stratton lab is focused on understanding the molecular components that allow you to form, maintain and recall a memory. CaMKII (calcium-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II) is the center of our focus. This dodecameric kinase complex has several fascinating biochemical and biophysical properties and is known to play a hallmark role in long-term memory. We have recently shown, for the first time, that CaMKII can exchange subunits between complexes, but only as a result of activation. Subunit exchange may play a role in extending the lifetime of active CaMKII, which could be necessary for memory potentiation.

The Stratton Lab is focused on the study of CaMKII in three major areas: frequency activation, subunit exchange, and downstream effectors. The overarching goal of the Stratton lab is to understand, at the molecular level, the protein regulation that drives synapse formation and maintenance. In order to understand the complexity that exists in our neural networks, we first need a detailed understanding of the proteins involved in memory formation at the level of their molecular structure, signaling properties and regulation. We aim to bridge the gap between information obtained at the animal level (e.g., transgenic mice) and information obtained at the molecular level (e.g., protein structure and regulation).

We use a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques, complemented by in cellulo experiments and microscopy, to demonstrate the physiological relevance of these phenomena.