Monday, October 27, 2008

PhD finishing talk

DISSERTATION SEMINAR

"Tau Regulates Kinesin-Based Transport By Modulation of Microtubule Structure"

Presented by Austin Peck

Hosted by Les Wilson and Stu Feinstein

2:00pm October 31st

MSRB (Marine Science Research Bldg) Auditorium

Reception on the 2nd Floor Deck Immediately Afterwards

Attire: Costumes preferred

Why do neurons generate multiple isoforms of the microtubule-associated protein tau in a developmentally-coordinated manner? How does disruption of tau isoform balance in neurons cause neurodegenerative disease in humans? In this study, we used a kinesin-driven microtubule gliding assay as a molecular reporter for tau induced changes in intrinsic microtubule surface topography. We find that assembly of microtubules by either 3R or 4R tau differentially regulates gliding velocity, independent of tau concentration. We suggest that these different velocities reflect distinct tau-induced topographies intrinsic to the MT surface. Additionally we find that kinesin dramatically stabilizes microtubule dynamic instability, while both tau isoforms increase microtubule rigidity. Together, these tau-mediated effects upon structure and function may be critical for proper neuronal development and maintenance, and when impaired, could lead to neurodegenerative disease.

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