MAR 20, 2014 12:00 PM PDT

Axonal Protein Synthesis in Neurodevelopment and -degeneration

Presented At Neuroscience
84 54 2554

  • Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology , Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimers Disease, Columbia University
      Dr. Ulrich Hengst studied biochemistry at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and conducted his graduate research at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, in the group of Prof. Denis Monard. In 2003 he received his PhD from the University of Basel. For his postdoctoral training, Dr. Hengst joined the laboratory of Samie R. Jaffrey, MD, PhD at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY. In Dr. Jaffreys group, he investigated the role of axonally localized mRNAs for axonal development leading to the identification of the first examples of specific mRNAs that are translated in axons in response to extracellular signaling molecules and that mediate growth cone collapse and axon elongation, respectively. In 2009, Dr. Hengst joined the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimers Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, as an Assistant Professor. He has successfully established new research projects addressing the role of local protein synthesis in Alzheimers disease and neurodevelopment.


    Spatially restricted protein synthesis is an important mechanism for the development and maintenance of many morphologically polarized cells including neurons. While most proteins are synthesized in the neuronal soma and transported into axons and dendrites, a comparably small subset of mRNAs is transported into the periphery of the neurons and only translated in response to specific signals. Work over the last two decades has established the existence of local protein synthesis in axons and provided insight into the differences between between dendritic and axonal translation. In this talk we will review the importance of local protein synthesis for the development, regeneration and maintenance of axons and address open questions such as the specific advantages of localized protein synthesis and its potential role in the mature or degenerating nervous system.

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