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The intricate relationship between microtubules and their associated motor proteins during axon growth and maintenance

The hallmarks of neurons are their slender axons which represent the longest cellular processes of animals and which act as the cables that electrically wire the brain, and the brain to the body. Axons extend along reproducible paths during development and regeneration, and they have to be maintained for the lifetime of an organism. Both axon extension and maintenance essentially depend on the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton. For this, MTs organize into parallel bundles that are established through extension at the leading axon tips within growth cones, and these bundles then form the architectural backbones, as well as the highways for axonal transport essential for supply and intracellular communication. Axon transport over these enormous distances takes days or even weeks and is a substantial logistical challenge. It is performed by kinesins and dynein/dynactin, which are molecular motors that form close functional links to the MTs they walk along. The intricate machinery which regulates MT dynamics, axonal transport and the motors is essential for nervous system development and function, and its investigation has huge potential to bring urgently required progress in understanding the causes of many developmental and degenerative brain disorders.


During the last years new explanations for the highly specific properties of axonal MTs and for their close functional links to motor proteins have emerged, and it has become increasingly clear that motors play active roles also in regulating axonal MT networks. Here, I will provide an overview of these new developments.


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BSDB 2013 “Axon Guidance and Regeneration”

The Autumn conference of the British Society for Developmental Biology Autumn Meeting 2013LINK

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 (12:00) –¬†Friday, 30 August 2013 (12:30) – University of Aberdeen

BSDBThe Autumn meeting is traditionally a smaller meeting devoted to in depth discussion of a particular area of developmental biology.

The deadline for abstract submission and travel grants is 14th June, the early bird registration deadline is 12th July.

Scientific organisers:

  • Lynda Eskine
  • Robert Hindges
  • Masaru Nakamoto
  • Derryck Shewan

Plenary Speakers:

  • Carol Mason
  • Christine Holt

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Experts for EU Horizon 2020 advisory groups

From the UK’s EU contact point:
I would like to inform you that the call for expression of interest for the selection of experts for EU Horizon 2020 advisory groups was launched yesterday at 12pm; please see the press release. Advisory groups will provide high quality and timely advice for the preparation of the Horizon 2020 calls for project proposals, in a number of areas of expertise, including in the area of health, demographic change and wellbeing.
Experts can register their interest through the dedicated webpage on the Horizon 2020 website here. More detailed information is also provided there (e.g. full call text, guidance on how to register etc). The call for expressions of interest will stay open for the lifetime of the Horizon 2020 programme, and experts can register at any time; however only those having expressed their interest no later than 6 March 2013 at 17.00, Brussels local time (CET) will be taken into account for the setting up of the first Horizon 2020 Advisory Groups. Applications are in a personal capacity.

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