10 – How & why to use human cellular models to study SYNGAP1

Event Time

November 5, 2020


Here are our introductory comments: 

Dr. Marcelo Coba gave a talk on November 5th at noon Pacific, titled How & why to use human cellular models to study Syngap1.  Dr. Coba has SRF grant 20-1 to support organoid work as described in this USC article.

Webinar Overview

Dr. Marcelo Coba is a psychiatric researcher at the USC school of medicine. He starts this webinar by explaining the synapse and postsynaptic density (PSD), a protein-dense region after the synapse where SYNGAP1 is one of the most abundant proteins. Dr. Coba then goes over how his lab uses mass spectrometry to identify the molecules SYNGAP1 binds to. This leads to an in-depth discussion about protein-protein interaction networks which regulate specific functions. Dr. Coba explains how SYNGAP1 is a hub, a protein which has many connections, in the protein network that regulates synaptic function, so a mutation in SYNGAP1 is likely to disrupt that entire protein-protein interaction network. He uses human models to do his research on SYNGAP1, and while they have the human gene and a genetic background which are good for research, they are immature models, “fetal-like,” and poorly characterized which make them difficult. He closes the webinar by saying he is working on building the proper model because while human models are important, his current model is not easy to work with.

Other Relevant Publications by Dr. Coba

The autism-associated gene SYNGAP1 regulates human cortical neurogenesis

Endogenous Syngap1 alpha splice forms promote cognitive function and seizure protection