Selected recent & representative publications are summarized below. For full details and a complete list, please see our PubMed index
Associative learning drives longitudinally-graded presynaptic plasticity of neurotransmitter release along axonal compartments
Stahl, A., Noyes, N.C., Boto, T., Botero, V., Broyles, V., Jing, M., Zeng, J., King, L.B., Li, Y., Davis, R.L., Tomchik, S.M. (2022)
eLife 11: e76712
In this study, we found that associative learning alters the release of acetylcholine in a compartmentalized manner from neurons that participate in encoding olfactory memories. The project was led by Aaron Stahl, in collaboratation with Nathaniel Noyes, Ronald L. Davis, Yulong Li, and others.
Neurofibromin regulates metabolic rate via neuronal mechanisms in Drosophila
Botero, V., Stanhope, B.A., Brown, E.B., Grenci, E.C., Boto, T., Park, S.J., King, L.B., Murphy, K.R., Colodner, K.J., Walker, J.A., Keene, A.C., Ja, W.W., Tomchik, S.M. (2021)
Nature Communications 12: 4285
We found that Nf1 regulates metabolic rate via neuronal effects, modulating respiration, lipid stores and turnover, feeding, and starvation resistance, and more. This project was a tour-de-force by graduate student Valentina Botero, who coordinated among 5(!) contributing labs: William Ja, Alex Keene, James Walker, Ken Colodner, and ours. It has already seeded a series of ongoing follow-up studies.
Developmental loss of neurofibromin across distributed neuronal circuits drives excessive grooming in Drosophila
King, L.B., Boto, T. Botero, V., Aviles, A.M., Jomsky, B.M., Joseph, C., Walker, J.A., Tomchik, S.M. (2020) PLOS Genetics 16(7): e1008920
Loss of neurofibromin drives increased grooming due to neuronal alterations in Drosophila (King et al., 2016). Examining the mechanisms of the these neuronal effects, we found that they are due to a distributed, developmental effects on certain combinations of neuronal subsets, and are dependent on Nf1 Ras GAP-related domain signaling. This project was led by Lani King, with contributions from other lab members, in collaboration with James Walker.
Independent Contributions of Discrete Dopaminergic Circuits to Cellular Plasticity, Memory Strength, and Valence in Drosophila
Boto, T., Stahl, A., Zhang, X., Louis, T., Tomchik, S.M. (2019)
Cell Reports 27, 2014–2021
Dopaminergic neurons participate in several aspects of memory encoding, including modulating the representations of positive and negative valence stimuli. Here we found that a third class of neurons modulate memory strength and may do so in a salience-dependent manner. This project was led by Tamara Boto, currently an Assistant Professor of Physiology at Trinity College Dublin.
Neurofibromin loss of function drives excessive grooming in Drosophila
King, L.B., Koch, M., Murphy, K.R., Velazquez, Y., Ja, W.W., Tomchik, S.M. (2016)
G3 (Bethesda) 6: 1083-1093.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) affects the nervous system, altering susceptibility to a range of cognitive and behavioral disorders. Here we examined motor function in the genetically powerful Drosophila model. Loss of neurofibromin dramatically increased grooming via neuronal effects, providing a model for NF1 effects on the nervous system. This project was led by postdoc Lani King, with significant contributions from Marta Koch and SURF student Yoheilly Velasquez, in collaboration with Keith Murphy and William Ja.