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.


Below displays the Research Details from the profile of each member of the lab.

Dinara Bulgari, PhD

Dr. Bulgari (Shakiryanova) studies the mechanisms of dense-core vesicles transport to nerve terminals and role of presynaptic signaling in regulation of neuropeptide release. She uses combination of genetic, electrophysiology and imaging techniques to study the native intact synapses in Drosophila model system, which feature large synaptic boutons that are amenable to study by light microscopy. Neuropeptides are packaged in large dense-core vesicles and act as local co-transmitters. They influence development, behavior, mood, pain perception, sleep and circadian rhythms, inflammation, appetite. But despite these important functions little is known about the cell physiology underlying their release. These studies will continue to transform the understanding of neuropeptide release and signaling in the nerve terminal, which are fundamental to understanding the operation of the nervous system under physiological and pathological conditions. 


Edwin S. Levitan, PhD

The Levitan lab studies neuronal cell biology and signaling with a focus on neuropeptide release and the control of behavior. Cutting edge fluorescence imaging in living Drosophila synapses in the brain and periphery is combined with genetics and behavioral assays of circadian and sleep rhythms.  Current projects include determining how: (a) signaling controls neuropeptide packaging and vesicle traffic, (b) fusion pores govern release of small neuropeptides and large neurotrophins, and (c) neuropeptide release elicited by clock neuron electrical activity and/or intracellular signaling determines rhythmic behaviors.
 

 


Dinara Bulgari, PhD
Research Assistant Professor


Markus K. Klose, PhD
Research Assistant Professor


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

Dinara Bulgari, PhD

Journal Articles

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

Journal Articles

Klose MK, Bruchez MP, Deitcher DL and Levitan ES. Temporally and spatially partitioned neuropeptide release from individual clock neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 118(17):e2101818118, 2021.
 
Bulgari D, Deitcher DL, Schmidt BF, Carpenter MA, Szent-Gyorgyi C, Bruchez MP and Levitan ES. Activity-evoked and spontaneous opening of synaptic fusion pores. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 116(34):17039-17044, 2019.
 
Tao J, Bulgari D, Berkhoudt DA, Calderon MJ, Watkins SC, Fonseca Velez HJ, Sabeva N, Deitcher DL and Levitan ES. Drosophila Ptp4E regulates vesicular packaging for monoamine-neuropeptide co-transmission. J Cell Sci. 132(7):jcs224568 2019.
 
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.