Research & Publications
Extensive Research Description
A major player of the neuronal cortical cytoskeleton is spectrin, a large and abundant scaffolding protein. The spectrin gene family is comprised of seven genes encoding two alpha and five beta subunits. To add to the complexity, many pre-mRNA splice variants have been identified. The ascribed function for spectrin is stabilizing membranes and organizing protein and lipid micro domains on both the plasma membrane and intracellular organelles. Not only is spectrin important in maintaining membrane micro domains, but also is likely involved in their targeting and transport. Salient characteristics of the spectrin gene family include: 1) a diverse neuronal compartmentalization, 2) Ca2+ /calmodulin mediated regulation, 3) calpain/caspase mediated proteolysis, and 4) tyrosine phosphorylation and ubiquination. My interest is to better elucidate the roles for such sub cellular compartmentalization and posttranslational modifications of the spectrin cytoskeleton and how spectrin affects receptor targeting, trafficking (exocytosis and endocytosis) and stabilization at pre/postsynaptic membranes.