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1.  The axonal cytoskeleton: from organization to function 
The axon is the single long fiber that extends from the neuron and transmits electrical signals away from the cell body. The neuronal cytoskeleton, composed of microtubules (MTs), actin filaments and neurofilaments, is not only required for axon formation and axonal transport but also provides the structural basis for several specialized axonal structures, such as the axon initial segment (AIS) and presynaptic boutons. Emerging evidence suggest that the unique cytoskeleton organization in the axon is essential for its structure and integrity. In addition, the increasing number of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases linked to defect in actin- and microtubule-dependent processes emphasizes the importance of a properly regulated cytoskeleton for normal axonal functioning. Here, we provide an overview of the current understanding of actin and microtubule organization within the axon and discuss models for the functional role of the cytoskeleton at specialized axonal structures.
doi:10.3389/fnmol.2015.00044
PMCID: PMC4536388  PMID: 26321907
axon; cytoskeleton; actin; microtubule; kinesin; transport; presynapse; axon initial segment
2.  Liprin-α2 promotes the presynaptic recruitment and turnover of RIM1/CASK to facilitate synaptic transmission 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;201(6):915-928.
Liprin-α2 is required for the presynaptic recruitment and turnover of RIM1 and CASK, components of the release machinery, and facilitates synaptic output by regulating synaptic vesicle pool size.
The presynaptic active zone mediates synaptic vesicle exocytosis, and modulation of its molecular composition is important for many types of synaptic plasticity. Here, we identify synaptic scaffold protein liprin-α2 as a key organizer in this process. We show that liprin-α2 levels were regulated by synaptic activity and the ubiquitin–proteasome system. Furthermore, liprin-α2 organized presynaptic ultrastructure and controlled synaptic output by regulating synaptic vesicle pool size. The presence of liprin-α2 at presynaptic sites did not depend on other active zone scaffolding proteins but was critical for recruitment of several components of the release machinery, including RIM1 and CASK. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching showed that depletion of liprin-α2 resulted in reduced turnover of RIM1 and CASK at presynaptic terminals, suggesting that liprin-α2 promotes dynamic scaffolding for molecular complexes that facilitate synaptic vesicle release. Therefore, liprin-α2 plays an important role in maintaining active zone dynamics to modulate synaptic efficacy in response to changes in network activity.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201301011
PMCID: PMC3678157  PMID: 23751498
3.  Dementia in Parkinson's Disease Correlates with α-Synuclein Pathology but Not with Cortical Astrogliosis 
Parkinson's Disease  2012;2012:420957.
Dementia is a common feature in Parkinson's disease (PD) and is considered to be the result of limbic and cortical Lewy bodies and/or Alzheimer changes. Astrogliosis may also affect the development of dementia, since it correlates well with declining cognition in Alzheimer patients. Thus, we determined whether cortical astrogliosis occurs in PD, whether it is related to dementia, and whether this is reflected by the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We have examined these proteins by immunohistochemistry in the frontal cortex and by Western blot in CSF of cases with PD, PD with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and nondemented controls. We were neither able to detect an increase in cortical astrogliosis in PD, PDD, or DLB nor could we observe a correlation between the extent of astrogliosis and the degree of dementia. The levels of GFAP and vimentin in CSF did not correlate to the extent of astrogliosis or dementia. We did confirm the previously identified positive correlation between the presence of cortical Lewy bodies and dementia in PD. In conclusion, we have shown that cortical astrogliosis is not associated with the cognitive decline in Lewy body-related dementia.
doi:10.1155/2012/420957
PMCID: PMC3347756  PMID: 22577599

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