MRC DTA Studentship : Cellular sites that regulate axon degeneration

Lead Research Organisation: Babraham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED

Abstract

Axons are the long fibres that connect one nerve cell with another and carry electrical communication between them. If these fibres degenerate, nervous function ceases resulting in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, motor neuron disease and multiple sclerosis. In many nervous disorders, the degeneration of the fibres precedes death of the cell from which they arise, but in the central nervous system the fibres cannot regenerate even if the cell survives. Thus, it is essential to understand and eventually intervene in axon degeneration mechanisms. We have identified a gene that can delay axon degeneration tenfold in mice, rats and flies but there is some uncertainty over whereabouts in the cell the protein product of this gene acts. This project will extend existing findings that the protein may act within the axon itself. It will also investigate the mechanism of degeneration of axons in Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, we are asking whether a toxic protein responsible for cell death in Alzheimer's disease acts within the axon from which it originates, or whether it acts outside the axon affecting both its axon of origin and its neighbours.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We tested whereabouts within a cell a protein acts that preserves nerve fibres.
Exploitation Route This was an important step towards understanding how the protein acts to preserve axons.
Sectors Healthcare