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Otago Medical School staff profiles

Professor Ruth Empson

PositionProfessor, Deputy HoD (Research)
DepartmentDepartment of Physiology
QualificationsMA, PhD, DIC
Research summaryCellular and molecular neuroscience

Research

The research in this laboratory uses a combination of electrophysiology, live imaging and molecular approaches to better understand the consequences of modifications to neuronal circuits. Our special interest lies with those circuits, or networks that contribute to our ability to make controlled movements; those within the cerebellum and the motor cortex. This research has relevance for addressing the highly debilitating and poorly treated movement disorders such as ataxia, motor neurone disease and spinal injury. We are also becoming increasingly interested in the contribution from the cerebellum to cognitive processes and its disruption in the poorly treated disorder autism.

Publications

Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2017). RNA-sequencing analysis reveals a regulatory role for transcription factor Fezf2 in the mature motor cortex. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 10, 283. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00283

Ibrahim, M. F., Power, E. M., Potapov, K., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Motor and cerebellar architectural abnormalities during the early progression of ataxia in a mouse model of SCA1 and how early prevention leads to a better outcome later in life. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 11, 292. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00292

Power, E. M., English, N. A., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Are Type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of cerebellar ataxia? Journal of Physiology, 594(16), 4643-4652. doi: 10.1113/jp271153

Antic, S. D., Empson, R. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2016). Voltage imaging to understand connections and functions of neuronal circuits. Journal of Neurophysiology, 116, 135-152. doi: 10.1152/jn.00226.2016

Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Day, R. C., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Fezf2 expression in layer 5 projection neurons of mature mouse motor cortex. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 524(4), 829-845. doi: 10.1002/cne.23875

Chapter in Book - Research

Empson, R. M., Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Hughes, S. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2015). Combined immunochemistry and live imaging of fluorescent protein expressing neurons in mouse brain. In A. Merighi & L. Lossi (Eds.), Immunocytochemistry and related techniques. (pp. 357-373). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2313-7_19

Roome, C. J., & Empson, R. M. (2010). Assessment of the contribution of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase, PMCA, calcium transporter to synapse function using patch clamp electrophysiology and fast calcium imaging. In Q. Yan (Ed.), Membrane transporters in drug discovery and development: Methods and Protocols [Vol. 637]. (pp. 343-360). New York: Springer Science+Business Media. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-700-6_19

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Journal - Research Article

Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2017). RNA-sequencing analysis reveals a regulatory role for transcription factor Fezf2 in the mature motor cortex. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 10, 283. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00283

Ibrahim, M. F., Power, E. M., Potapov, K., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Motor and cerebellar architectural abnormalities during the early progression of ataxia in a mouse model of SCA1 and how early prevention leads to a better outcome later in life. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 11, 292. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00292

Power, E. M., English, N. A., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Are Type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of cerebellar ataxia? Journal of Physiology, 594(16), 4643-4652. doi: 10.1113/jp271153

Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Day, R. C., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Fezf2 expression in layer 5 projection neurons of mature mouse motor cortex. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 524(4), 829-845. doi: 10.1002/cne.23875

Antic, S. D., Empson, R. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2016). Voltage imaging to understand connections and functions of neuronal circuits. Journal of Neurophysiology, 116, 135-152. doi: 10.1152/jn.00226.2016

Power, E. M., Morales, A., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Prolonged type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor dependent synaptic signaling contributes to spino-cerebellar ataxia type 1. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(18), 4910-4916. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3953-15.2016

Madisen, L., Garner, A. R., Shimaoka, D., Chuong, A. S., Klapoetke, N. C., Li, L., … Empson, R. M., … Zeng, H. (2015). Transgenic mice for intersectional targeting of neural sensors and effectors with high specificity and performance. Neuron, 85(5), 942-958. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.022

Schoderboeck, L., Riad, S., Bokor, A. M., Wicky, H. E., Strauss, M., Bostina, M., Oswald, M. J., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2015). Chimeric rabies SADB19-VSVg-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors mediate long-range retrograde transduction from the mouse spinal cord. Gene Therapy, 22, 357-364. doi: 10.1038/gt.2015.3

Empson, R. M., Goulton, C., Scholtz, D., Gallero-Salas, Y., Zeng, H., & Knöpfel, T. (2015). Validation of optical voltage reporting by the genetically encoded voltage indicator VSFP-Butterfly from cortical layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in mouse brain slices. Physiological Reports, 3(7), e12468. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12468

Power, E. M., & Empson, R. M. (2014). Functional contributions of glutamate transporters at the parallel fibre to Purkinje neuron synapse: Relevance for the progression of cerebellar ataxia. Cerebellum & Ataxias, 1, 3. doi: 10.1186/2053-8871-1-3

Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Duynstee, C., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2014). Expression of the developmental transcription factor Fezf2 identifies a distinct subpopulation of layer 5 intratelencephalic-projection neurons in mature mouse motor cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(12), 4303-4308. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3111-13.2014

Empson, R. M., Huang, H., Nagaraja, R. Y., Roome, C. J., & Knöpfel, T. (2013). Enhanced synaptic inhibition in the cerebellar cortex of the ataxic PMCA2-/- knockout mouse. Cerebellum, 12, 667-675. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0472-0

Roome, C. J., Power, E. M., & Empson, R. M. (2013). Transient reversal of the sodium/calcium exchanger boosts presynaptic calcium and synaptic transmission at a cerebellar synapse. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109(6), 1669-1680. doi: 10.1152/jn.00854.2012

Roome, C. J., & Empson, R. M. (2013). The contribution of the sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX) and plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA) to cerebellar synapse function. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology, 961, 251-263. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4756-6_21

Roome, C. J., Knöpfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2013). Functional contributions of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase and the sodium—calcium exchanger at mouse parallel fibre to Purkinje neuron synapses. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology, 465(2), 319-331. doi: 10.1007/s00424-012-1172-1

Oswald, M. J., Tantirigama, M. L. S., Sonntag, I., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2013). Diversity of layer 5 projection neurons in the mouse motor cortex. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 7, 174. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00174

Russell, C. L., Semerdjieva, S., Empson, R. M., Austen, B. M., Beesley, P. W., & Alifragis, P. (2012). Amyloid-β acts as a regulator of neurotransmitter release disrupting the interaction between synaptophysin and VAMP2. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e43201. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043201

Empson, R. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2012). Functional integration of calcium regulatory mechanisms at Purkinje neuron synapses. Cerebellum, 11(3), 640-650. doi: 10.1007/s12311-010-0185-6

Empson, R. M., Akemann, W., & Knöpfel, T. (2010). The role of the calcium transporter protein plasma membrane calcium ATPase PMCA2 in cerebellar Purkinje neuron function. Functional Neurology, 25(3), 153-163.

Empson, R. M., Turner, P. R., Nagaraja, R. Y., Beesley, P. W., & Knöpfel, T. (2010). Reduced expression of the Ca2+ transporter protein PMCA2 slows Ca2+ dynamics in mouse cerebellar Purkinje neurons and alters the precision of motor coordination. Journal of Physiology, 588(6), 907-922. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.182196

Huang, H., Nagaraja, R. Y., Garside, M. L., Akemann, W., Knöpfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2010). Contribution of plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase to cerebellar synapse function. World Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1(5), 95-102. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v1.i5.95

Garside, M. L., Turner, P. R., Austen, B., Strehler, E. E., Beesley, P. W., & Empson, R. M. (2009). Molecular interactions of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase 2 at pre- and post-synaptic sites in rat cerebellum. Neuroscience, 162(2), 383-395. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.04.059

Jensen, T. P., Buckby, L. E., & Empson, R. M. (2009). Reduced expression of the "fast" calcium transporter PMCA2a during homeostatic plasticity. Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, 41(3), 364-372. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2009.04.011

Empson, R. M., Garside, M. L., & Knöpfel, T. (2007). Plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase 2 contributes to short-term synapse plasticity at the parallel fiber to Purkinje neuron synapse. Journal of Neuroscience, 27(14), 3753-3758.

Jensen, T. P., Filoteo, A. G., Knopfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2007). Presynaptic plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase isoform 2a regulates excitatory synaptic transmission in rat hippocampal CA3. Journal of Physiology, 579(1), 85-99. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2006.123901

Empson, R. M., Buckby, L. E., Kraus, M., Bates, K. J., Crompton, M. R., Gundelfinger, E. D., & Beesley, P. W. (2006). The cell adhesion molecule neuroplastin-65 inhibits hippocampal long-term potentiation via a mitogen-activated protein kinase p38-dependent reduction in surface expression of GluR1-containing glutamate receptors. Journal of Neurochemistry, 99(3), 850-860. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.04123.x

Buckby, L. E., Jensen, T. P., Smith, P. J. E., & Empson, R. M. (2006). Network stability through homeostatic scaling of excitatory and inhibitory synapses following inactivity in CA3 of rat organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, 31, 805-816. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2006.01.009

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