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“Novel mechanisms of microtubule-based transport: Organelle contacts and Parkinson’s Disease.”

February 10, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:45 pm

UVM Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Seminar and chalk talk

Online at 12:00 – 1:45PM,  Join the seminar 

“Novel mechanisms of microtubule-based transport: Organelle contacts and Parkinson’s Disease.

John Salogiannis, PhD, University of California San Diego | HHMI 


The precise delivery of cargos is essential for cellular function, Not surprisingly, defects in microtubule-based transport are a hallmark of neurological diseases. Here, I address

two fundamental questions: First, how do defects in transport underly neuro-degenerative disease? I elucidate a mechanism by which the Parkinson’s Disease-linked LRRK2 directly binds to microtubules where it can act as a roadblock against the molecular motors dynein and kinesin. Second, how do a relatively small number of motors move a large array of cargos? The canonical view of motor-driven cargo transport is that a cargo adaptor directly recruits the motor. I describe a non-canonical mode of transport called “organelle hitchhiking”: some organelles achieve motility not by recruiting a molecular motor directly, but by tethering to moving vesicles at membrane contact sites. These discoveries represent novel mechanistic insights into microtubule-based transport and neurological disease.


My research has focused on the cytoskeleton and its effect on neuronal and cellular function. As a neuroscience graduate student in Michael Greenberg’s lab at Harvard

Medical School, I used molecular, biochemical, and behavioral approaches to study how actin cytoskeleton regulators inhibit the formation of excitatory synapses during brain development. In Samara Reck-Peterson’s lab I was the recipient of the Charles King Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship. I made discoveries related to how microtubule-based motors drive the movement of cellular cargos and how they are impacted by the Parkinson’s Disease-linked Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2). In my own lab I will leverage my expertise in biochemical reconstitutions, single-molecule and live-cell imaging, genetics, cell biology, and neuroscience to address how movement of the endolysosomal system affects cellular function and how these processes go awry in neurodegenerative disease.



February 10, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:45 pm
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