SEP 27, 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Regulation of microtubule plus-end dynamics during axon guidance and cell migration

Presented At Cell Biology 2017
C.E. CREDITS: P.A.C.E. CE | Florida CE
  • Assistant Professor of Biology, Boston College
      Laura Anne grew up in the San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles. She discovered her love of academia and biomedical research while an undergrad at the University of California, San Diego. In the lab of Dr. Bill Schafer, she studied the neural circuitry underlying worm egg-laying behavior. In 2008, Laura Anne received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working in the lab of Dr. Hazel Sive at the Whitehead Institute, where she pioneered research studying early brain ventricle morphogenesis. Laura Anne then did post-doctoral research in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, in the labs of Dr. David Van Vactor and Dr. Gaudenz Danuser, where she became fascinated by the inner workings of the neuronal growth cone. In 2014, Laura Anne began as an Assistant Professor in Biology at Boston College, and she has obtained research funding from the NIH, American Cancer Society, and March of Dimes. Her current research focuses on the cytoskeletal mechanisms that promote cell migration in neurons, neural crest cells, and metastatic cancer cells.


    A fundamental question in neuronal development is how growth cone cytoskeletal dynamics are coordinated to promote accurate axonal navigation. To address this question, we focus on microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs), which may play a key role in axon guidance. We determined that TACC3 is a +TIP that promotes microtubule polymerization and axon outgrowth. We have begun to test the hypothesis that TACC3 spatially restricts microtubule polymerization in response to guidance signals in Xenopus laevis axons in vivo and ex vivo. We demonstrate that TACC3 is required to promote axon outgrowth and prevent spontaneous retractions. Additionally, we find that manipulation of TACC3 levels interferes with the growth cone response to axon guidance cues. Finally, we observe that ablation of TACC3 causes pathfinding defects in Xenopus laevis embryos. Together, our findings suggest that TACC3 functions as an axon guidance-regulating factor in embryonic neurons by spatially promoting microtubule polymerization dynamics.

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