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Dean's Seminar: Lost in Translation: Axonal Protein Synthesis and Fragile X Syndrome

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Michael Akins, PhD, assistant professor of biology


Learn about the exciting research being done by faculty in all departments of the College of Arts and Sciences!

Title: Dean's Seminar: Lost in Translation: Axonal Protein Synthesis and Fragile X Syndrome

Speaker: Dr. Michael Akins, assistant professor of biology
Converting our fleeting experiences into long-lasting changes in the brain requires the new synthesis of specific proteins.  A critical portion of this protein synthesis occurs at or near synapses in a process termed "local" protein synthesis.  Normal neuronal circuit function requires local protein synthesis in dendrites (the part of the neuron that receives information). Disrupted dendritic protein synthesis contributes to the symptoms of disorders, such as autism.

It is less clear, however, whether local protein synthesis in the brain also occurs in axons (the part of the neuron that transmits information) or whether this axonal protein synthesis contributes to neuronal circuit function.

Michael Akins, PhD, will present evidence that populations of axons in mammalian brains, including those of adult humans, contain protein synthetic machinery: mRNA, ribosomes, and RNA-binding proteins that include FMRP, the protein mutated in the autism-related disorder Fragile X syndrome. Axonal protein synthesis can therefore impact neuronal circuit function to support behavioral plasticity throughout the human lifespan, while dysregulated translation of axonal mRNAs likely contributes to the symptoms of autism-related disorders.
This event is free and open to the Drexel community. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact Information

Diane Ketler