Research Fellows Directory
Oscar Marcelo Lazo
Dr Oscar Marcelo Lazo
University College London
Neurons have an extraordinary complex architecture comprising a cell body, dendrites and an axon connecting the neuron with its target. The target tissues, in turn, secrete factors that regulate several neural functions. The propagation of these neurotrophic signals rely on the transport of activated receptors along the axon, which occurs in organelles regulated by a family molecules called Rab GTPases. It is not known whether different Rabs may specify different populations of carriers; but we know that one of the most abundant, Rab7, not only participates in the regulation of retrograde signalling carriers, but also in the maturation of autophagosomes, organelles that engulf and degrade components in the cytoplasm. We have hypothesized that neurotrophic signalling coordinates a sort of equilibrium or cooperation between transport and degradation, and also between different classes of retrograde carriers. This mutual regulation may help to explain (and perhaps give some ideas to overcome) specific axonal deficits observed in relevant neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS or Huntington's.
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