Dr. Benjamin Eaton's laboratory is interested in understanding how neurons maintain stable neurotransmission over extended periods. Importantly, age-dependent synaptic dysfunction is believed to be an important contributor the declines in cognition and motor function in the elderly.
We predominantly use the Drosophila model system, which allows for a combination of powerful genetic techniques, animal behavior, in vivo imaging, and electrophysiology to asses synapse function from the cellular to the whole animal level.
The lab is primarily focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underling the regulation of synaptic proteasomes, effects of diet and age on neuromuscular performance, and the role of the biosynthetic pathway for normal neurotransmission.
Mahoney RE, Rawson JM, Eaton BA. An age-dependent change in the set point of synaptic homeostasis. J Neurosci. 2014 Feb 5;34(6):2111-9.
Chang L, Kreko T, Davison H, Cusmano T, Wu Y, Rothenfluh A, Eaton BA. Normal dynactin complex function during synapse growth in Drosophila requires membrane binding by Arfaptin. Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Jun;24(11):1749-64, S1-5.
Boiko N, Kucher V, Stockand JD, Eaton BA. Pickpocket1 is an ionotropic molecular sensory transducer. J Biol Chem. 2012 Nov 16;287(47):39878-86.
Rawson JM, Kreko T, Davison H, Mahoney R, Bokov A, Chang L, Gelfond J, Macleod GT, Eaton BA. Effects of diet on synaptic vesicle release in dynactin complex mutants: a mechanism for improved vitality during motor disease. Aging Cell. 2012 Jun;11(3):418-27.