Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Host: Graduate Students
Title: Microtubule Cartography: The Role of Microtubule-Associated Proteins in Defining the Cellular Landscape
Abstract: Many eukaryotic cells distribute their intracellular components asymmetrically through regulated active transport driven by molecular motors along microtubule tracks. While intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of motor activity exists, what governs the overall distribution of activated motor-cargo complexes within cells remains unclear. I will present how we utilize in vitro reconstitution of purified motor proteins and non-enzymatic microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) to demonstrate that MAPs exhibit distinct influences on the motility of the three main classes of transport motors: kinesin-1, kinesin-3, and cytoplasmic dynein. Further, we dissect how combinations of MAPs affect motors, and unveil MAP9 as a positive modulator of kinesin-3 motility. From these data, we propose a general “MAP code” that has the capacity to strongly bias directed movement along microtubules and helps elucidate the intricate intracellular sorting observed in highly polarized cells such as neurons. I will also delve into how certain MAPs contribute to neurodegeneration using a Drosophila model.