The title of my talk: Alcohol memories are controlled by Arc/Arg3.1.

Abstract: Alcohol addiction is characterised by compulsive alcohol taking and seeking. Even after long-periods of abstinence addicted individuals tend to relapse upon exposure to context, or cues, associated with alcohol, leading to new bouts of uncontrolled alcohol consumption and progression of disease. Thus understanding of neuronal circuits involved in relapsing behaviour may be crucial to support abstinence. Arc/Arg3.1 protein is involved in the regulation of cognitive flexibility and activity of the glutamatergic system due to control over AMPA receptor endocytosis.  Since plasticity of the glutamatergic synapses has been linked with addiction we  hypothesised that Arc protein regulates alcohol addiction-related behaviours. During my talk I will demonstrate how we used the automated IntelliCages to conduct longitudinal study and test addiction-related behaviours in Arc KO mice. I will also show our new approach for local, in vivo editing of the genome by CRISPR/Cas9 system to manipulate  Arc/Arg3.1 expression, synaptic plasticity, and alcohol seeking. Overall, our data show the novel role of Arc protein in CeA, as a specific regulator of alcohol seeking during relapse induced by alcohol-associated cues.

Bio: Kasia Radwańska is a head of the Laboratory of Molecular Basis of Behaviour, Nencki Institute, Poland. During her PhD she worked with prof. Leszek Kaczmarek at Nencki Institute, studying the contribution of ERK signalling pathway to cocaine-induced gene expression. Later she got also interested in molecular basis of memory, and alternative mechanisms of memory formation, which do not involve classical activation of NMDAR-pathway. She finished two postdoctoral fellowships, one at the Laboratory of Molecular Analysis of Memory of Prof. Karl Peter Giese (Marie Curie fellow 2006-2008), second at the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology of Prof. Leszek Kaczmarek (2008-2013). Dr Radwańska is honored by prestigious award from Polish Prime Minister for the Outstanding Habilitation (2013), Foundation for Polish Science POMOST grant for women (2010) and Marie Curie Reintegration Grant (2009).

Currently, her team is studying molecular and cellular basis of memory processes and synaptic plasticity. To this end they integrate electrophysiology on brain section, 3D electron microscopy and behavioral analysis. Radwańska’s lab is also interested in modeling alcohol addiction and cognitive impairments in laboratory animals. The long-term aim to her research is to develop insights for treatments for memory dysfunctions in psychiatric illnesses.