Neuronal Cities, Microtubule Highways, and Modifications as Road Signs: Investigating Transport in Neurons

High resolution fly larvae image

Think of neurons like cities, which need to be able to transport goods and services throughout themselves. In cities this is done on highways by cargo trucks. In neurons it’s done on microtubules by motor proteins. To direct traffic, cities have signals like lights and road signs, while in neurons these signals are thought to come in the form of post-translational modifications.

These modifications on the microtubules are hypothesized to ensure that cargo in these neurons gets to the right place at the right time. The lab of assistant professor Jill Wildonger at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry studies these modifications and their impact on the transport of cargo. New research from the Wildonger Lab led by postdoctoral scholar Brian Jenkins investigated a particular post-translational modification, using a new approach to find that researchers’ assumptions about the modification might not have been as correct as once thought. Their research was recently on the cover of the Journal of Cell Science.

Read about this work at the link below.