The broad long-term goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for the dysfunction and loss of neurons in degenerative neurological disorders. In BPAG1 null mouse, axonal degeneration of sensory neurons leads to dramatic and progressive deterioration in motor functions. This null mouse provides us a powerful tool for studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Defining the biological functions of BPAG1 would significantly advance our understanding of pathogenesis. In previous studies, we documented BPAG1n1 and BPAG1n3, which function as cytoskeleton organizing proteins interconnecting all 3 networks. Most recently, we identified an additional isoform of BPAG1, BPAG1n4, whose functional importance has been suggested by our preliminary studies. We hypothesize that BPAG1n4 plays an important role in axonal transport of vesicles. Ablation of BPAG1 neuronal isoforms leads to disorganization of axonal cytoskeletal networks, disruption of axonal transport of vesicles and failure of target-derived neurotrophic support. This defect culminates in the death of affected neurons.
The first Aim will further examine and confirm the sub-cellular localization of BPAG1n4 at the ultrastructural level.
The second Aim i s to characterize all potential functions of BPAG1n4. The functional interactions between BPAG1n4 and cytoskeletal proteins will be explored both in vitro and in vivo.
The third Aim i s to identify the proteins with which BPAG1n4 interact with by using yeast two-hybrid system. The proposed study will enhance our understanding of the biological functions of cytoskeletal organizing proteins in axons and their role(s) in sustaining neuronal survival. We expect to obtain important insights regarding the molecular pathogenesis of the death of neurons that have been deprived of target innervations. Our findings will lead to a better understanding and possible treatment for neurodegenerative disorders. I believe that my research focus will provide a wonderful fusion of my interest in understanding the development and function of nervous system and my desire to help people and to explore the disease mechanisms. The Department of Neurology at Stanford University provides an ideal environment for developing my academic career into a leading investigator in the neurobiology of disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research (K02)
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NST-2 Subcommittee (NST)
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Mamounas, Laura
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Stanford University
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Liu, Jia-Jia; Ding, Jianqing; Wu, Chengbiao et al. (2007) Retrolinkin, a membrane protein, plays an important role in retrograde axonal transport. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:2223-8
Ding, Jianqing; Allen, Elizabeth; Wang, Wei et al. (2006) Gene targeting of GAN in mouse causes a toxic accumulation of microtubule-associated protein 8 and impaired retrograde axonal transport. Hum Mol Genet 15:1451-63
Ding, Jianqing; Valle, Angela; Allen, Elizabeth et al. (2006) Microtubule-associated protein 8 contains two microtubule binding sites. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 339:172-9
Wang, Wei; Ding, Jianqing; Allen, Elizabeth et al. (2005) Gigaxonin interacts with tubulin folding cofactor B and controls its degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Curr Biol 15:2050-5
Liu, Jia-Jia; Ding, Jianqing; Kowal, Anthony S et al. (2003) BPAG1n4 is essential for retrograde axonal transport in sensory neurons. J Cell Biol 163:223-9