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Silvia Schwartz

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Investigating the role of Histone Deacetylase HDAC4 in long-term memory formation

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The histone deacetylase HDAC4 has emerged as a master regulator of memory formation and storage, although its mechanisms of action have not yet been clarified. To identify interactive partners of HDAC4, Ms Schwartz performed a genetic screen in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster which identified several HDAC4 interactors. Among those identified, Ms Schwartz selected a gene named Ankyrin2 for further analysis as it is implicated in human intellectual disability. Immunohistochemical analyses showed widespread distribution of Ankyrin2 throughout the adult brain and co-localisation with HDAC4 in the axons of the mushroom body, a key structure for memory formation in flies. Ms Schwartz also found that both HDAC4 and Ankyrin2 regulate mushroom body development and that Ankyrin2 is critical for memory formation. Her results suggest that the interaction of HDAC4 with the cytoskeletal adaptor Ankyrin2 may involve remodelling of the cytoskeleton, a phenomenon that underlies memory-related processes like synaptic plasticity and neuronal excitability.

Dr Helen Fitzsimons
Professor Kathryn Stowell
Dr Tracy Hale