Full list of publications can be found here:
Purkinje neurons, the sole output of the cerebellar cortex, deliver GABA-mediated inhibition to the deep cerebellar nuclei. To subserve this critical function, Purkinje neurons fire repetitively, and at high frequencies, features that have been linked to the unique properties of the voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels expressed. In addition to the rapidly activating and inactivating, or transient, component of the Nav current (INaT) present in many types of central and peripheral neurons, Purkinje neurons, also expresses persistent (INaP) and resurgent (INaR) Nav currents.
The resurgent component of voltage-gated Na+ (Nav) currents, INaR, has been suggested to provide the depolarizing drive for high-frequency firing and to be generated by voltage-dependent Nav channel block (at depolarized potentials) and unblock (at hyperpolarized potentials) by the accessory Navβ4 subunit. To test these hypotheses, we examined the effects of the targeted deletion of Scn4b (Navβ4) on INaR and on repetitive firing in cerebellar Purkinje neurons.
Mutations in FGF14, which encodes intracellular fibroblast growth factor 14 (iFGF14), have been linked to spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA27). In addition, mice lacking Fgf14 (Fgf14(-/-)) exhibit an ataxia phenotype resembling SCA27, accompanied by marked changes in the excitability of cerebellar granule and Purkinje neurons. It is not known, however, whether these phenotypes result from defects in neuronal development or if they reflect a physiological requirement for iFGF14 in the adult cerebellum. Here, we demonstrate that the acute and selective Fgf14-targeted short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated in vivo "knock-down" of iFGF14 in adult Purkinje neurons attenuates spontaneous and evoked action potential firing without measurably affecting the expression or localization of voltage-gated Na(+) (Nav) channels at Purkinje neuron axon initial segments.