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. Regulation of excitation-contraction coupling at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. Ormerod, KG, Scibelli, AE, Littleton, JT. 2022. J Physiol 600, 349-372.
    doi: 10.1113/JP282092PMID:34788476
  2. The decoy SNARE Tomosyn sets tonic versus phasic release properties and is required for homeostatic synaptic plasticity. Sauvola, CW, Akbergenova, Y, Cunningham, KL, Aponte-Santiago, NA, Littleton, JT. 2021. Elife 10, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.72841PMID:34713802
  3. Glial ER and GAP junction mediated Ca2+ waves are crucial to maintain normal brain excitability. Weiss, S, Clamon, LC, Manoim, JE, Ormerod, KG, Parnas, M, Littleton, JT. 2022. Glia 70, 123-144.
    doi: 10.1002/glia.24092PMID:34528727
  4. SNARE Regulatory Proteins in Synaptic Vesicle Fusion and Recycling. Sauvola, CW, Littleton, JT. 2021. Front Mol Neurosci 14, 733138.
    doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2021.733138PMID:34421538
  5. Function of Drosophila Synaptotagmins in membrane trafficking at synapses. Quiñones-Frías, MC, Littleton, JT. 2021. Cell Mol Life Sci 78, 4335-4364.
    doi: 10.1007/s00018-021-03788-9PMID:33619613
  6. Synaptic Properties and Plasticity Mechanisms of Invertebrate Tonic and Phasic Neurons. Aponte-Santiago, NA, Littleton, JT. 2020. Front Physiol 11, 611982.
    doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.611982PMID:33391026
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
More Publications

Multimedia

Photo credit: Richard Cho