Levitan Lab

The Levitan lab studies the cell biology of neurons with a focus on neuropeptides and dopamine. Cutting edge fluorescence imaging in vivo and ex vivo (e.g. in Drosophila and rodent brain slices) with confocal and two-photon microscopes is combined with genetics, electrophysiology and electrochemistry.  Current projects include determining how signaling and injury control vesicle traffic and exocytosis in synapses, the role of vesicular antipsychotic drugs in regulating dopamine transmission and recently discovered redox communication between neuronal organelles.


Dinara Bulgari, PhD
Research Assistant Professor


Markus K. Klose, PhD
Research Instructor


Edwin S. Levitan, PhD
Professor & Vice Chair for Research Operations

Dinara Bulgari, PhD

Bulgari D, Zhou C, Hewes RS, Deitcher DL and ES Levitan. Vesicle capture, not delivery, scales up neuropeptide storage in neuroendocrine terminals. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111:3597-3601, 2014.
Shakiryanova D, GM Zettel, T Gu, RS Hewes and ES Levitan.  Synaptic neuropeptide release induced by octopamine wthout Ca2+ entry into the nerve terminal.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:4477-4481, 2011.
Shakiryanova D, T Morimoto, C Zhou, AK Chouhan, SJ Sigrist, A Nose, GT Macleod, DL Deitcher and ES Levitan.  Differential control of presynaptic (CaMKII) activation and translocation to active zones.  Journal of Neuroscience 31:9093-9100, 2011.
Shakiryanova D and ES Levitan.  Prolonged presynaptic posttetanic cyclic GMP signaling in Drosophila motoneurons.  Proc Natl Acad SCI USA 105:13610-13613, 2008.
Shakiryanova D, MK Klose, Y Zhou, T Gu, DL Deitcher, HL Atwood, RS Hewes and ES Levitan. Vesicle mobilization and post-tetanic potentiation of neuropeptide release require ryanodine receptors and calmodulin kinase II. Journal of Neuroscience 27(29):7799-7806, 2007.
Shakiryanova D, A Tully and ES Levitan ES. Activity-dependent synaptic capture of transiting peptidergic vesicles.  Nature Neuroscience 9(7):896-900, 2006.
Shakiryanova D, A Tully, R Hewes, D Deitcher and ES Levitan . Activity-dependent liberation of synaptic neuropeptide vesicles. Nature Neuroscience 8(2): 173-178, 2005.

Edwin S. Levitan, PhD

Wong MY, SL Cavolo and ES Levitan. Synaptic neuropeptide release by dynamin-dependent partial release from circulating vesicles. Mol Biol Cell 26:2466-2474, 2015.
Cavolo SL, C Zhou, SA Ketcham, MM Suzuki, K Ukalovic, MA Silverman, TA Schroer and ES Levitan. Mycalolide B dissociates dynactin and abolishes retrograde axonal transport of dense-core vesicles. Mol Biol Cell 26:2664-2672, 2015.
Tucker KR, ER Block and ES Levitan. Action potentials and amphetamine release antipsychotic drug from dopamine neuron synaptic VMAT vesicles. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:E4485-4494, 2015.
Bulgari D, C Zhou, RS Hewes, DL Deitcher and ES Levitan. Vesicle capture, not delivery, scales up neuropeptide storage in neuroendocrine terminals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:3597-3601, 2014.
Wong MY, C Zhou, D Shakiryanova, TE Lloyd, DL Deitcher and ES Levitan.  Neuropeptide delivery to synapses by long-range vesicle circulation and sporadic capture.  Cell 148:1029-1038, 2012.