Brain blood flow is unusual in being largely regulated by pericytes – contractile cells that enwrap capillaries. These cells express the cytoskeleton-associated protein Cyfip which has been linked to autism and intellectual disability, and cytoskeletal regulation is crucial for cells that need to contract and relax around capillaries. Using transgenic approaches and molecular techniques from the Kittler lab, and expertise in imaging in vivo and in brain slices and mathematical modelling from the Attwell lab, we will investigate the role of Cyfip in these cells which are crucial to regulating the energy supply that underlies neural computation.
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