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Receptor Biology Section - Division of Intramural Research


Katherine W. Roche Image

Katherine W. Roche, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Dr. Roche received her B.S. from Duke University. In 1995 she received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, where she worked with Richard Huganir studying the regulation of glutamate receptors. She then did a postdoctoral fellowship with Robert Wenthold in the NIDCD, where she investigated the cell biology of glutamate receptor transport and localization. Dr. Roche joined NINDS as an Investigator in 2001. The main focus of her laboratory is the study of neurotransmitter receptor expression and targeting to the synapse.

Laboratory Staff

John Badger, B.S., Research Assistant
Kai Chang, M.D., Biologist
Shuxi Liu, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Richa Lomash, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Marc Lussier, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Antonio Sanz-Clemente, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Sehoon Won, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Katherine W. Roche Staff Image

Research Interests

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system, and in addition to its central role in fast excitatory signaling it is also involved in synaptogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and the pathogenesis of certain neurologic diseases. Although glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter in all pathways of the central nervous system, the response to glutamate is not uniform at all glutamatergic synapses and varies with the type of glutamate receptor expressed on the postsynaptic membrane. In this context, we are interested in studying synapse-specific expression of postsynaptic NMDA and metabotropic glutamate receptors. My laboratory characterizes the molecular mechanisms underlying neurotransmitter receptor transport and localization at the synapse using several research strategies which include (1) defining sorting motifs present in neurotransmitter receptor cytosolic domains, (2) isolating neurotransmitter receptor-associated proteins, and (3) determining the role of protein-protein interactions in trafficking and specific synapse localization. Using these cell biological approaches, we hope to elucidate the mechanisms of neurotransmitter receptor trafficking in neurons and the role of accessory proteins at central synapses.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Chen, B.S., Gray, J.A., Sanz-Clemente, A., Wei, Z., Thomas, E.V., Nicoll, R.A., and Roche, K.W.
    SAP102 Mediates Synaptic Clearance of NMDA Receptors., Cell Reports, 2012, vol. 2(5), pp. 1120-8.
  • Sanz-Clemente, A., Nicoll, R.A., and Roche, K.W.
    Diversity in NMDA Receptor Composition: Many Regulators, Many Consequences, Neuroscientist, 2012
  • Chen, B.S., Thomas, E.V., Sanz-Clemente, A., and Roche, K.W.
    NMDA Receptor-Dependent Regulation of Dendritic Spine Morphology by SAP102 Splice Variants, J. Neurosci., 2011
  • Choi, K.Y., Chang, K., Pickel, J.M., Badger, J.D. 2nd, and Roche K.W.
    Expression of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) induces melanoma in transgenic mice, PNAS, 2011, vol. 108 (37), pp. 15219-24.
  • Suh, Y.H., Terashima, A., Petralia, R.S., Wenthold, R.J., Isaac, J.T., Roche, K.W., and Roche, P.A.
    A neuronal role for SNAP-23 in postsynaptic glutamate receptor trafficking, Nat. Neurosci., 2010, vol. 13(3), pp. 338-43.
  • Sanz-Clemente, A., Matta, J.A., Isaac, J.T.R., and Roche, K.W.
    Casein Kinase 2 Regulates the NR2 Subunit Composition of Synaptic NMDA Receptors, Neuron, 2010, vol. 67(6), pp. 984-96.
  • Chen, B.S. and Roche, K.W.
    Growth Factor-Dependent Trafficking of Cerebellar NMDA Receptors Via Protein Kinase B/Akt Phosphorylation of NR2C, Neuron, 2009, vol. 62, pp. 471-8.
  • Suh, Y.H., Pelkey, K.A., Lavezzari, G., Roche, P.A., Huganir, R.L., McBain, C.J., and Roche, K.W.
    Co-Requirement of PICK1 Binding and PKC Phosphorylation for Stable Surface Expression of the Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor mGluR7, Neuron, 2008, vol. 58, pp. 736-48.

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Receptor Biology Section, NINDS
Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35, Room 2C-903
35 Convent Drive, MSC 3704
Bethesda, MD 20892-3704

Telephone: 301-496-3800 (office), 301-480-4186 (fax)
Email: rochek@ninds.nih.gov