Interplay between the dopaminergic system and the extracellular matrix in neuroplasticity and aversive learning
Signaling through dopamine receptors proved to affect remodeling of the neural extracellular matrix (ECM) in vitro. This mechanism may open a time window for local structural synaptic plasticity, network rearrangements and learning followed by stabilization of the new network configuration by replenishing ECM molecules. Hence, we aim to study (1) how does dopamine signaling and motivated learning regulate ECM composition and integrity at the molecular and cellular levels and (2) what is the physiological role of ECM remodeling at the cellular, network and systemic levels. Proteomic analysis, patch clamp recordings, vital imaging of ECM / extracellular proteases, and two-photon imaging of neural activity in awake mice will be used to shed light on the interplay between the ECM and the dopaminergic system.