Dr. Swati Banerjee uses the Drosophila model system to investigate the cellular and molecular bases of axonal ensheathment and synaptic development and function.
The cellular and molecular interactions between neurons and glial cells are vital for proper functioning of the nervous system across species. The ensheathment of axons, formation of axo-glial junctions, and maintenance of functional blood-brain and blood-nerve barriers are all centrally dependent on neuronal and glial cells. Using genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches, Dr. Banerjee has identified proteins that are highly conserved in vertebrates and have fundamental roles in mediating neuron-glial interactions. Her studies on axonal ensheathment in Drosophila are relevant in elucidating the mechanisms that regulate vertebrate neuron-glial interactions and myelination.
Another area of her research involves understanding how trans-synaptic adhesion and signaling underlie synaptic growth and maintenance of proper synaptic cytoarchitecture, as these processes are critical for cognition and in shaping neural networks to process and refine information. Many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders result from synaptic dysfunctions or abnormal neural connectivity. Dr. Banerjee’s research aims at identifying the genes and genetic pathways that contribute toward the formation, stabilization, and maintenance of functional synapses that may provide insights into human neurological disorders resulting from synaptic dysfunction.
Banerjee, S., Mino, R., Fisher, E. and Bhat, M.A. (2017). A Versatile Genetic Tool to Study Midline Glia Function in the Drosophila CNS. Developmental Biology, 1; 429(1):35-43.
Banerjee, S., Venkatesan, A. and Bhat, M.A. (2017) Neurexin, Neuroligin and Wishful Thinking Coordinate Synaptic Cytoarchitecture and Growth at Neuromuscular Junctions. Mol. Cell. Neurosci.78, 9-24. (Featured on the Cover).
Mino, R.E., Rogers, S.L., Risinger, A.L., Rohena, C., Banerjee, S. and Bhat, M.A. (2016). Drosophila Ringmaker Regulates Microtubule Stabilization and Axonal Extension During Embryonic Development. J. Cell Sci. 129, 3282-3294.
Banerjee, S., Riordan, M. and Bhat, M.A. (2014). Genetic Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Insights from Animal Models. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 8:58.
Chen, Y.-C., Lin, Y.Q., Banerjee, S., Venken, K., Li, J., Ismat, A., Chen, K., Duraine, L., Bellen, H.J. and Bhat, M.A. (2012). Drosophila Neuroligin 2 is Required Presynaptically and Postsynaptically for proper Synaptic Differentiation and Synaptic Transmission. J. Neurosci. 32: 16018-16030.