Robert Elde, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuroscience

Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuroscience


Research Summary/Interests


Research in my laboratory aims to understand some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neurotransmission. Synaptic neurotransmission is spatially precise and rapid in time course. In contrast, non-synaptic neurotransmission is less focal and is slower. In each case, neurons organize and deliver to the appropriate region of their plasma membrane the molecular machinery required for neurotransmitter packaging and release. Similarly, receptors and signal transduction molecules are delivered to appropriate regions of the plasma membrane of recipient neurons.

We study models that represent each of these forms of neurotransmission. In the case of synaptic neurotransmission we have focused on the neurons that package adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into vesicles and release it to act upon neurons that express the P2X family of ATP-gated ion channels. We investigate non-synaptic neurotransmission through out studies of the packaging and release of the opioid peptides and their action on neurons that express opioid receptors. Our general approach is to generate antibodies that recognize transmitters, receptors, and other molecules involved in neurotransmission, and to use these antibodies to monitor the trafficking of the molecules in question.


Schuster, DJ, Dykstra, JA, Riedl, MS, Kitto, KF, Belur, LR, McIvor, RS, Elde, RP, Fairbanks, CA & Vulchanova, L 2014, ‘Biodistribution of adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vector after intrathecal and intravenous delivery in mouse’ Front Neuroanat, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 42.

Birdsong, WT, Fierro, L, Williams, FG, Spelta, V, Naves, LA, Knowles, M,Marsh-Haffner, J, Adelman, JP, Almers, W, Elde, RP & McCleskey, EW 2010, ‘Sensing muscle ischemia: coincident detection of acid and ATP via interplay of two ion channels’ Neuron, vol. 68, no. 4, pp. 739-49.

Riedl, MS, Schnell, SA, Overland, AC, Chabot-Doré, AJ, Taylor, AM, Ribeiro-da-Silva, A, Elde, RP, Wilcox, GL & Stone, LS 2009, ‘Coexpression of alpha 2A-adrenergic and delta-opioid receptors in substance P-containing terminals in rat dorsal horn’ Comp Neurol, vol. 513 no. 4, pp. 385-98. in: J Comp Neurol. 2009 Jun 20;514(6):674.

Deng, Y, Wang, Y, Holtz, B, Li, J, Traaseth, N, Veglia, G, Stottrup, BJ, Elde, R, Pei, D, Guo, A & Zhu, XY 2008, ‘Fluidic and air-stable supported lipid bilayer andcell-mimicking microarrays’ J Am Chem Soc. vol. 130, no. 19, pp. 6267-71.

Fullmer, JM, Riedl, M, Williams, FG, Sandrin, M & Elde, R 2007, ‘Enzymes that synthesize the IB4 epitope are not sufficient to impart IB4 binding in dorsal root ganglia of rat’ J Comp Neurol, vol.501, no.1, pp. 70-82.

Guan, JS, Xu, ZZ, Gao, H, He, SQ, Ma, GQ, Sun, T, Wang, LH, Zhang, ZN, Lena, I, Kitchen, I, Elde, R, Zimmer, A, He, C, Pei, G, Bao, L & Zhang, X 2005, ‘Interaction with vesicle luminal protachykinin regulates surface expression of delta-opioid receptors and opioid analgesia’ Cell. Vol. 122 no. 4, pp. 619-31.

Fullmer, JM, Riedl, MS, Higgins, L & Elde, R. 2004, ‘Identification of some lectin IB4 binding proteins in rat dorsal root ganglia’ Neuroreport. vol. 15, no. 11, pp. 1705-9.

Stone, LS, Vulchanova, L, Riedl, MS, Williams, FG, Wilcox, GL & Elde, R 2004, ‘Effects of peripheral nerve injury on delta opioid receptor (DOR) immunoreactivity in the rat spinal cord’ Neurosci Lett. vol. 361, no. 1-3, pp. 208-11.