Troy Littleton

Troy Littleton

Menicon Professor of Biology and The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory

Troy Littleton is interested in how neuronal connections form and function, and how neurological disease disrupts synaptic communication.

617-452-2605

Phone

46-3243

Office

troy@mit.edu

Email

Charles Moss

Assistant

617-452-2070

Assistant Phone

Education

  • PhD, 1994, Baylor College of Medicine; MD, 1997, Baylor College of Medicine
  • BS, 1989, Biochemistry, Louisiana State University

Research Summary

Using Drosophila, we study how neurons form synaptic connections, as well as how synapses transmit information and change during learning and memory. We also investigate how alterations in neuronal signaling underlie several neurological diseases, including epilepsy, autism, and Huntington’s Disease. We hope to bridge the gap between the molecular components of the synapse and the physiological responses they mediate.

Key Publications

  1. A synaptotagmin suppressor screen indicates SNARE binding controls the timing and Ca2+ cooperativity of vesicle fusion. Guan, Z, Bykhovskaia, M, Jorquera, RA, Sutton, RB, Akbergenova, Y, Littleton, JT. 2017. Elife 6, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.28409PMID:28895532
  2. Phosphorylation of Complexin by PKA Regulates Activity-Dependent Spontaneous Neurotransmitter Release and Structural Synaptic Plasticity. Cho, RW, Buhl, LK, Volfson, D, Tran, A, Li, F, Akbergenova, Y, Littleton, JT. 2015. Neuron 88, 749-61.
    doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.10.011PMID:26590346
  3. Spontaneous and evoked release are independently regulated at individual active zones. Melom, JE, Akbergenova, Y, Gavornik, JP, Littleton, JT. 2013. J Neurosci 33, 17253-63.
    doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3334-13.2013PMID:24174659
  4. A complexin fusion clamp regulates spontaneous neurotransmitter release and synaptic growth. Huntwork, S, Littleton, JT. 2007. Nat Neurosci 10, 1235-7.
    doi: 10.1038/nn1980PMID:17873870
  5. Retrograde signaling by Syt 4 induces presynaptic release and synapse-specific growth. Yoshihara, M, Adolfsen, B, Galle, KT, Littleton, JT. 2005. Science 310, 858-63.
    doi: 10.1126/science.1117541PMID:16272123

Recent Publications

  1. Synaptic Plasticity Induced by Differential Manipulation of Tonic and Phasic Motoneurons in Drosophila. Aponte-Santiago, NA, Ormerod, KG, Akbergenova, Y, Littleton, JT. 2020. J Neurosci 40, 6270-6288.
    doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0925-20.2020PMID:32631939
  2. Drosophila Synaptotagmin 7 negatively regulates synaptic vesicle release and replenishment in a dosage-dependent manner. Guan, Z, Quiñones-Frías, MC, Akbergenova, Y, Littleton, JT. 2020. Elife 9, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.55443PMID:32343229
  3. Synaptic Plasticity: Close Encounters of the Tonic and Phasic Kind. Cunningham, KL, Littleton, JT. 2019. Curr Biol 29, R1196-R1198.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.033PMID:31743679
  4. Glial Ca2+signaling links endocytosis to K+ buffering around neuronal somas to regulate excitability. Weiss, S, Melom, JE, Ormerod, KG, Zhang, YV, Littleton, JT. 2019. Elife 8, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.44186PMID:31025939
  5. Neurons regulate synaptic strength through homeostatic scaling of active zones. Cunningham, KL, Littleton, JT. 2019. J Cell Biol 218, 1434-1435.
    doi: 10.1083/jcb.201903065PMID:30979798
  6. Characterization of developmental and molecular factors underlying release heterogeneity at Drosophila synapses. Akbergenova, Y, Cunningham, KL, Zhang, YV, Weiss, S, Littleton, JT. 2018. Elife 7, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.38268PMID:29989549
  7. A synaptotagmin suppressor screen indicates SNARE binding controls the timing and Ca2+ cooperativity of vesicle fusion. Guan, Z, Bykhovskaia, M, Jorquera, RA, Sutton, RB, Akbergenova, Y, Littleton, JT. 2017. Elife 6, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.28409PMID:28895532
  8. Astrocyte Ca2+ Influx Negatively Regulates Neuronal Activity. Zhang, YV, Ormerod, KG, Littleton, JT. eNeuro 4, .
    doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0340-16.2017PMID:28303263
  9. Pathogenic Huntington Alters BMP Signaling and Synaptic Growth through Local Disruptions of Endosomal Compartments. Akbergenova, Y, Littleton, JT. 2017. J Neurosci 37, 3425-3439.
    doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2752-16.2017PMID:28235896
  10. Neurotoxicity Pathways in Drosophila Models of the Polyglutamine Disorders. Krench, M, Littleton, JT. 2017. Curr Top Dev Biol 121, 201-223.
    doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2016.07.006PMID:28057300
More Publications
Photo credit: Richard Cho