Credentials: Integrative Biology Department
Position title: Cellular Neuroscience
129 Integrative Biology Research Building
1117 W. Johnson St.
Madison, WI 53706
Cellular Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking
The formation and maintenance of neural circuits relies on the active movement of structural and functional components throughout developing and mature neurons. This is a particularly important and challenging process in neurons with long axonal projections which can extend long distances from the cell body. Neurons rely on molecular motors to be the main driver of organelle and protein localization into axons. These motors use microtubules as tracks and are guided by microtubule polarity. The superfamily of Kinesin motor proteins (~45 in humans) is responsible for anterograde axonal transport towards microtubule plus ends oriented towards axon terminals. Conversely, a single molecular motor, Cytoplasmic dynein, is the primary motor proteins complex responsible for microtubule minus end (cell body) directed transport of cargos. How unique cargos attach to the single retrograde motor for transport to new locations is largely unknown but likely relies on adaptor proteins that link them conditionally to this motor for transport. Our lab uses genetics, live imaging of cargo transport, and biochemistry in zebrafish embryos and larvae to identify novel regulators of retrograde cargo transport in axons.