The size, shape, activity and topology of neurons create unique (or accentuated) problems in their cell biology. These special properties are often targets of human disease, including malformation syndromes, some tumors, and several degenerative disorders. As a "professional cell" for processes such as microtubule-based transport and regulated secretion, neurons are also a particularly sensitive experimental system for cellular mechanisms that are important to a broader range of cells. CMM labs are exploring key aspects of neuronal cell biology in cells, experimental animals and human subjects. Current studies focus on transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of neural development (Hamilton), axonal transport mechanisms and their role in protein aggregation disorders (Goldstein), and pathological mechanisms in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease (Cleveland).
Image: IPSC-derived neurospheres (green) from autistic individuals, making synaptic connections (nuclei stained in red). Courtesy Alysson Muotri