Dr. Bergles is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which neurons and glial cells interact to support normal communication in the nervous system. Glutamate transporters are critical in the communication process.
Dr. Bergles' lab studies the properties of these glutamate transporters in expression systems as well as in acute tissue, such as the hippocampus and cerebellum.
Because transport is electrogenic, Dr. Bergles' lab can monitor transporter activity using electrophysiological (patch-clamp) techniques. Through these studies they hope to determine the fate of glutamate after it is released—how far it diffuses, the types and locations of the receptors it activates and the role of transporters in shaping its spatial and temporal profile in the extracellular space.
Transporters play a critical role in glutamate homeostasis, so understanding their function has relevance for numerous disorders, such as stroke, epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease).
Lab Website: Dwight Bergles Laboratory
Hughes EG, Kang SH, Fukaya M, Bergles DE. "Oligodendrocyte progenitors balance growth with self-repulsion to achieve homeostasis in the adult brain." Nat Neurosci. 2013 Jun;16(6):668-76. doi: 10.1038/nn.3390. Epub 2013 Apr 28.
Kang SH, Li Y, Fukaya M, Lorenzini I, Cleveland DW, Ostrow LW, Rothstein JD, Bergles DE. "Degeneration and impaired regeneration of gray matter oligodendrocytes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis." Nat Neurosci. 2013 May;16(5):571-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3357. Epub 2013 Mar 31.
Paukert M, Bergles DE. "Reduction of motion artifacts during in vivo two-photon imaging of brain through heartbeat triggered scanning." J Physiol. 2012 Jul 1;590(Pt 13):2955-63. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.228114. Epub 2012 Apr 16.
De Biase LM, Kang SH, Baxi EG, Fukaya M, Pucak ML, Mishina M, Calabresi PA, Bergles DE. "NMDA receptor signaling in oligodendrocyte progenitors is not required for oligodendrogenesis and myelination." J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 31;31(35):12650-62. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2455-11.2011.
Kang SH, Fukaya M, Yang JK, Rothstein JD, Bergles DE. "NG2+ CNS glial progenitors remain committed to the oligodendrocyte lineage in postnatal life and following neurodegeneration." Neuron. 2010 Nov 18;68(4):668-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.09.009.