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

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