Protein Trafficking in Neurons

Neurons are amongst the largest and most complex cells in biology. Their intricate geometry presents many challenges for cell function, in particular, the efficient trafficking of newly synthesized proteins from the soma to distant locations on the axon or dendrites. In this talk I describe recent work on the mathematical modeling and analysis of one important aspect of protein trafficking, namely, glutamate receptor transport within dendrites. Glutamate receptors mediate the majority of excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. The regulation of glutamate receptor trafficking is an important mechanism for synaptic plasticity, whereas a breakdown in trafficking appears to be a contributory factor to a number of neurodegenerative diseases associated with memory loss including Alzheimer's.

Paul C. Bressloff, University of Utah



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