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Dr Sue Jones

We study electrical and chemical signals in neurons, the basis of neuronal communication in the nervous system. We aim to understand how neuronal communication is disrupted in pathological states that mimic neurological disorders.
Dr Sue Jones

University Senior Lecturer

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 333795

Research Interests

NMDA receptors and synaptic control of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta

Substantia nigra dopamine neurons form part of the basal ganglia circuit, which is needed for motivated voluntary movement control. Degeneration of dopamine neurons is a characteristic feature of Parkinson’s disease. We study glutamatergic synapses onto dopamine neurons, with a particular interest in NMDA glutamate receptors: how they are regulated, and the balance between physiological and pathological NMDA receptor activity. For example, Paul Morris is a PhD student in the lab and he is currently studying activity-dependent down-regulation of NMDA receptors. This work has been funded by the BBSRC, Parkinson’s UK, the Wellcome Trust and the Isaac Newton Trust.


Part II PDN Module P1 and Part II Neuroscience Module N7

Part IB NST Neurobiology and MVST Neurobiology of Human Behaviour

Part IA MVST Functional Architecture of the Body

Key Publications

Wild AR, Bollands M, Morris PG, Jones S, (2015), Mechanisms regulating spill-over of synaptic glutamate to extrasynaptic NMDA receptors in mouse substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons, European Journal of Neuroscience, 42:2633-2643

Wild AR, Jones S, Gibb AJ, (2014), Activity dependent regulation of NMDA receptors in substantia nigra dopaminergic neurones, J Physiology, 592.4:653–668

Wild AR, Akyol E, Brothwell SLC, Kimkool P, Skepper JN, Gibb AJ, Jones S, (2013), Memantine block depends on agonist presentation at the NMDA receptor in substantia nigra pars compacta dopamine neurones, Neuropharmacology, 73:138-146

Brothwell SLC , Barber JL, Monaghan DT, Jane DE, Gibb AJ, Jones S, (2008), NR2B- and NR2D-containing synaptic NMDA receptors in developing rat substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurones, J Physiology, 586:739-750

Above: Dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra have been immunolabelled with an antibody (red) and a nuclear stain (blue) to enable us to determine the density of dopamine neurons under different conditions. NMDA reduces the density, and this effect is reversed by memantine. From Wild et al., 2013.

Above: The use-dependent NMDA receptor antagonist, memantine reduces NMDA receptor mediated synaptic currents in response to high frequency stimulation, but not those in response to low frequency stimulation. From Wild et al., 2013.

Above: NMDA receptors at excitatory synapses in dopamine neurons are composed of GluN2B (ifenprodil-sensitive) and GluN2D (UBP141-sensitive) subunits. From Brothwell et al., 2008.